Posted by: smithdavid | December 30, 2012

Subduing the Ego and The Big Blue Bus

The arms of our wetsuits hang down from our waists. It’s too hot to have them fully on while Andre goes through some surf theory. I’m on Nahoon Beach again and it’s almost a full year since my last surf lesson.

‘Let’s do some stretching first ,’ he says. ‘I go to Pilates twice a week to keep flexible…’

I bend over and feel the pain from taut hamstrings, my hands are a foot above my toes and there seems no chance I’ll get them any lower. It’s only two days since I last surfed on surfari with EV but already all my muscles and sinews have stiffened.  I wonder if anyone amongst the languid crowd is watching and chuckling as they bake on their beach towels.

hot nahoon beach

hot nahoon beach

We get our arms into the suits and zip up.

‘Let’s see a few pop-ups…’ says Andre. I’m hoping that all those pop-ups I did in the dark lounge in London will allow me to spring up gracefully now, I want to show Andre that there has been some movement forward in the last year. Also, my surf confidence could use a lift after the tough days with EV that have just passed.

But as I push up I feel rigidity in my hips and my left foot lands underneath my waist instead of beneath my chest. I can do better than this, I want to say.

‘Do a few more…’ Andre says, ‘this happens when you haven’t surfed for a few days.’

We wade out mid-way between the swimming area and the river mouth. With some disappointment I see that we’ve stopped in the white-water, I was hoping we’d head straight out back. This should be easy, I think.  But I fall of the first few waves, even though Andre has pushed me into their path and I didn’t have to paddle.

‘The board could use a little wax…’ he says generously. But it’s foam board and doesn’t need wax and I’m cursing myself.

someone on a wave in nahoon...

someone on a wave in nahoon…

At last I start getting up on the waves. Andre shows me exactly where to stand on the board and what I should be looking for in a wave.

In a break in sets of waves, we talk about board hire.

‘You can use this one for half of whatever the hire shop are looking for,’ says Andre. I’m resistant at first, six months ago I turned down a foamie because I thought I had progressed further than that. But the week of toil with EV is clear and sharp and it subdues my ego.

Later we’re in Andre’s driveway (a short distance from Nahoon) looking for straps to tie the board to Dad’s Honda. Dad watches sceptically as we place the blue board on his roof. But he doesn’t complain.

I take the board out later at Gonubie Beach. It’s heavy and hard to turn but it only needs about half-a-foot of wave to take off. And once it’s going, it stays going. I catch a few small waves and ride them for a while.

‘That’s a big surf board Uncle Dave,’ Jess, my niece, says later when I get home.

‘It’s the Big Blue Bus,’ I tell her, winking, ‘it’s doesn’t turn much, but once you’re on it, you’re really on it…’



  1. Hey Dave,

    Enjoyed the post.

    Among the great things about 2012 has been these connections.

    Thanks and wishing you a wave filled 2013.


    • cheers tom. agreed about new connections. all the best with only here, only now in the new year, i’m looking forward to new posts. have a good one. dave

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