My first long term relationship was with a guy who loved surfing. It was ironic really, as we grew up in a country town half an hour away from a beach with no real surf and muddy, brown water.
I used to read his surf magazines and dream of being able to surf for myself. I was envious of the feelings surfers always attached to their experiences with the ocean, all that 'calm'.
I was given this board by a friend from uni who found it in the dirt under their share house. She took me with her on a week long 'learn-to-surf' trip in the holidays. I took the board with me my first year away working, tried to surf in Byron Bay, where the board was made.
My brother surfs and he took me 'out the back' one day and I was so terrified of all that salty unknown beneath me that I made him bring me right back in again. I knew then that my fear of sharks was going to stop me ever enjoying the mystical buzz of the ocean but I didn't let that board go. It was unusual in shape, a bit of a prototype. It nose-dived in the worse way possible and was scarred and scratched.
I'm cheating a bit, because I did finally let this one go. I sold it to a real surfer, one who had a bit of a passion for buying and riding old boards. I talked him up to the price 'of a carton of beer', about $30. I felt not so bad about this one, since I was never going to make it into a coffee table. It went to a good home.
I still love the beach and the ocean. I still feel an incredible sense of calm when I'm alone on the beach, watching the waves, or lying face down on the warm sand after a swim. I still love the way rocks feel when they have been pounded by the waves and sand into the smoothest of pebbles. I still love the feeling of a swim in the sea, beats swimming anywhere else.
I will never be a surfer.