A family that plays together should catch waves together 15/07/2016 – Posted in: Blog

A family that plays together should catch waves together

Play is a pretty important thing. As you get older it’s easy to lose site of this. Responsibility, stress, deadlines, all of these things eat away at your time and the inclination to relax, play and do things for the sake of just having fun can easily be corroded by the pressures of grown up life.

As a surfer I’ve managed to play all my life. I started out in the UK diving in and out the waves and picking up horrid red rashes through the summer months when I was five years old on the very worst kind of polystyrene bellyboards. My dad was keen for me to move onto stand-up surfing so he tried pushing me into a few when I was around eight years old on a gnarly old 70s board. The board was battered and full of scrapes, dings, defects and scarred fibreglass. It was nasty to touch and even nastier to fall onto. I hated it. I was little and learning was too tough! So what did I do? I gave up!

Fast forward five years, now aged 13 and I am a fully fledged skateboarder. I had heaps of friends to help me learn and push me and I got pretty good pretty quick. The summer came however and the sea was alluring and it wasn’t long until I was back in the water, this time on a bodyboard. I was hooked! It was easy, fun, I got good at it quickly and the equipment was durable, fit for purpose and of a high quality. Before long I had learnt to read the surf, understand the waves and get myself barrelled. Over the following seven years I body boarded more and skated less. Why? It was exciting but no broken bones (I broke my arm three times skating!) and it felt like playing.

By the time I was 23 my bodyboarding wasn’t improving much and my best mate who I bodyboarded a lot with was making the leap over to stand up surfing, I did the same. I threw myself in at the deep end, bought an old 6’6’’ fiberglass thruster and learnt to surf through a Cornish winter. I hated it! Why? It was too hard! My first breakthrough was on a 7 foot foamy at high tide Harlyn. It was two foot of lazy surf and I paddled out on a foamy goofing around and took wave after wave from deep water to the shore. The sun was shining and it was heaps of fun. From here on I stopped pressurising myself (most of the time) and went out and had fun more. I got better and better and, again, I was hooked.

Children are like dogs only they don’t smell fear they smell fun. I think we ‘grownups’ can learn a lot from children. I make it a massive point in my life to make sure I have some play time every week and I do this by surfing. Now aged 40 with a nine-year-old daughter, who isn’t yet hooked yet surfing, but she certainly enjoys it. She knows when we go down to the beach together for a wave we will always have fun and share some laughs. I try to remember to keep things light and positive when we are in the water and not get too serious about her learning. She rides a 7 foot Seasoft foamy and it’s one of the most popular boards in the house. Me, my wife and daughter (and dog!) all swap boards but we all still have the most fun on a foamy. Why? Because it’s easy, fun and a great way of playing together.