The girl who paddled out

My surf trips – these weekend getaways – are never the same.

The 4-6 hour commute, the crowd, the weather and wave conditions, what happens to me when I get on my surfboard – it's a different thing everytime I'm out there. I'm literally carrying my surfboard to the same spot over and over, but never to the same beach.

Sometimes I am not so sure about what I'm looking for anymore.

I just know that I'm paddling out, against crashing waves and dangerous currents; waiting for a swell that I could chase and catch – and hopefully ride to shore.

For a beginner who's just started paddling out on her own, rides are hard-earned gems. Most of the time, it's just wipeouts, nose dives, and missed waves.

Whenever there are local surfers or more experienced people in the line up, I feel very much like an out of place pebble. I just sort of watch people in awe, forget that I was even surfing, and just see everyone score countless waves while I sit on my wobbly board.

I smile. It's easy to just be intimidated, feel like a total kook and give up — but instead I tell myself that these guys earned their skills through hard work, discipline, and determination.

I'm not going to be a good surfer after just a few afternoons of paddling out there and trying to catch waves. I'm gonna have to spend a significant portion of my life doing so. I'm gonna have to work really hard if I wanted to learn this sport and be something I could be proud of. I need more water time, strength and endurance, plus a hell lot of patience and desire to actually do this.

Here's what I'm sure of: I want to be chasing waves for the rest of my life, for as long as I could.

I'm leaving my life in the city, quitting my job, and starting a new chapter somewhere near ocean waves. I need to be able to get in the water more than once a week. I couldn't let rigid commitments get in the way of my surfing. I am willing to denounce the comforts of life all for my love of the sea and for riding waves. Yes, I am basically throwing my life into the ocean.

Goodbye employment and all.

“So what are your plans?”

I'm saving enough money as backup, establishing an alternative income source, then finally moving out. (Maybe somewhere south?) I have to keep paying my insurance and retirement fund. I'm doing the math and planning to live a life that's as basic as possible. I'm starting now – I'm seeing how I could go spending as little money as possible.

“What are you going to say to your mom?”

I missed my younger sister's birthday celebration. I missed our team building. All because I couldn't go more than two weeks of no surfing.

That's it. I guess I'm now surfing for good. I'm leaving this corporate life to become a beach bum, a non-pro wave rider who's denounced a more “fruitful” life all for a hobby.

All for something that's never the same, unpredictable and dangerous; an elusive summer love. Sounds really crazy when you think about it, but yes I'm living a life spent on love and nothing much more.

Besides, this is the more emotionally healthy path. I might never have to be depressed ever again if I went surfing as frequently as possible. This could be my life saver. This could be the only life for me.

I just need to chase it and make it my own.