21 March 2015

Dahican: The day we went to surf school

I had fallen off the surfboard after finally riding a breaking wave. I held on tight to the board while the ocean flushed me. Then I felt the impact of a huge refrigerator falling on my leg and crushing it. I realized my right thigh just got slammed onto a rock. I took a peek and felt relieved that it was still intact. I feared that blood would start gushing down from it but gladly there was none.

I went up the board again and paddled further out into the ocean against the waves. Bizarrely, there was no fear of the deep and troubled ocean. There was only that instinct to survive. It felt natural - me, the ocean, the waves.

Finding the right wave is not easy for someone who knows zero about surfing. Finding my balance is even harder because I was a bit heavy at 5 foot 2. I could barely lift myself on the board and every time I let myself fall back into a wave, I have to swim under and against it. The only good thing is that the waves are not huge, I have a mentor near me and there is another person on the shore to take care of the board to make sure it doesn't hurt me.

Those torturing moments felt like forever but it was just over an hour. The rest of the time was spent learning to skim and chatting with other students and the Amihan sa Dahican team. I was glad that there was nothing formal about going to surf school in Dahican. These new people felt like old friends. In fact they are. In a small town like Mati, people know people. Our surf mentor George Plaza was a friend of an old friend.

Now I can feel my leg again though whenever I pinch it, there remains the memory of a blunt pain. It had been badly bruised and it looked like roasted purple yam for over a week. I really do love the ocean but sometimes it gives me a hard time. But then, all sacrifices lead to great things. The day we learned to ride the surfboard is one of many great things.

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