“To me the simplicity of surfing, and its mostly unexpected moments, mirrors and teaches me a lot about ‘real’ life.”
Words by Annabel Barratt.
It was the stuff dreams were made of. I was about to head over to Hawaii with my shaper and longtime friend Reddog, who wanted me to experience some ‘real’ waves. We stayed on the North Shore with his mentor, teacher and loyal friend Simon Anderson and his wife Sharon. Whilst I was over there, I temporarily became Simon & Sharon’s adopted daughter. It was actually the first surf trip I had ever taken overseas and one I will always remember.
Simon and Reddog had obviously been to Hawaii numerous times. So the knowledge they had and shared was incredible. I couldn’t get enough. The power of the waves over there was like nothing else I had experienced. I love big waves, and at home (Dee Why Point, Sydney) I am pretty accustomed to making the most of big swells. However big days in Hawaii are a different story altogether. Simon took me under his wing and shared with me all his inspiring stories and memories from the North Shore.
Reddog had made me a beautiful quiver of surfboards ranging from 6’3 to 7’6. The 6’10 and 7’6 saw the most use as we were lucky to get consistent swell the whole month. Paddling out to Sunset with Simon and Reddog by my side was pretty re-assuring most of the time. However one of those days for the first time, I got a massive close-out set on my head in the West bowl. I got absolutely worked and came up like a half drowned rat, bikini mostly ripped off, inhaling my hair, and climbing up my legrope from the bottom of Sunset… In hind sight it was a bit funny, and after that I became a bit more comfortable with the power of the surf and bigger waves in Hawaii. But in that initial moment and for a few minutes after, with the next few waves in the set smashing me, I was pretty scared. This moment kind of rattled my brain to a few thoughts…
Ultimately we are pretty vulnerable, and I think this is what makes surfing and life so exciting. We can do all the preparation in the world, and have all the best advice and knowledge, but in the end, there is just us, us against everything else. One person against the ocean. Our own minds; one mind; our own thoughts; our own choices. The only thought that stops or pushes oneself is our own thought. All we can do is our best in the moment by aiming to be wholly and solely in that moment, and have 100% trust and confidence in our self to conquer that moment and then learn from it for the next.
It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I felt like one of the luckiest girls in the world.
All images courtesy of Simon and Sharon Anderson.