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Stoked! A mom learns that it’s never too late to learn to ride that wave, all you need is a surfboard and a healthy dose of confidence.

I am a 41-year-old mom with two children and one of the many things on my bucket list was to try surfing. We live a 10-minute drive from the beach and while I often sit there, watching my children having fun in the waves on their boogie boards, I hadn’t yet taken to the ocean on a surfboard

So, after some soul-searching, I decided to give it a shot. I found a local surf shop that hires out surfboards for 24 hours, and three days later we were back to hire the biggest board we could fit into our car. Apparently the bigger the board the easier it is. My 12-year-old daughter proudly carried the surfboard under her arm, feeling like a real surfer chick before we had even wet our feet in the cold Atlantic. The board was so long it stretched from the back windscreen of my hatchback right to the front. We have no roof racks … yet!

The day had finally arrived. I walked into the ocean with my surfboard, feeling excited that I was no longer an onlooker – I was finally one of them, and scared that the waves might tumble me around like a rag in a washing machine. But I had support. My eight-year-old son and my boyfriend were with me on their boogie boards, encouraging me and giving advice. A few big waves left me wobbly on my feet and my son, concerned for my safety, suggested I swap my surfboard for his boogie board. But I was determined. I had come this far and I wasn’t giving up.

Read our article on sun and water safety.

That special something

Lying on that surfboard, with the swell rising and falling underneath me, looking across the sea, I began to understand how this sport could become addictive. There’s something special about being out there, just you and your board and all that water. Although I have to admit, I was aware of every dark shadow around me. But my legs and hands were soon numb from the cold water, so even if a shark did happen to bite me I figured I probably wouldn’t feel it anyway. I paddled closer to where all the surfers were huddled together. It must have been obvious that I was new in the water because they happily offered advice.

I “boogie-boarded” in on a couple of waves until I felt brave enough to attempt to stand. The dude from the surf shop had advised me to pop up in one quick motion from lying to standing. Yeah, right! You try and pop up when you are trying to balance on a moving wave. It was a challenge, but then again, I thrive on those. So on the next wave, I pulled myself up and tried to pop to a standing position. I got as far as my knees and fell off. I tried again on the next wave. Same thing. And again, each time only getting as far as my knees.

Even though I didn’t manage to stand and ride a wave, the experience was exhilarating. It was about more than just being on a surfboard in the ocean. I felt as if I was 21 again – I felt alive and satisfied, and it was a liberating experience. And to be honest, I was proud that I had taken on the challenge to do something that I have always wanted to do, and enjoyed it. So much so, that I am considering investing in a second-hand surfboard with my next commission cheque. I’ll be back and next time I will stand and ride my first wave like a real surfer.

Cindy Perry