April 25, 2014

#Residenttourist: Confessions of a Clumsy Surfer

I grew up in a family of water babies; both of my parents and my brothers LOVE to be in and on top of the water either surfing, swimming, fishing, sailing, diving (you get the idea) My childhood is a blur of beach days, boat days, fishing days and surfing days.

We used to pile our boards into the back of my Dad's truck and spend the entire day in the sea. Wrinkled fingers, salty hair and red eyes were a standard Sunday evening look for all of us. I was always a clumsy tag along, trying to keep up with my brothers as they caught wave after wave. I got a few cheers when I eventually managed to ride the wall of a wave, and I felt like a million bucks. I also regularly received a stern cussing from fellow surfers when I panicked and let go of my board every time a huge wave crashed on top of me. This was standard though and I eventually learnt how to 'turtle' my giant red surfboard instead.
It was always a fine balance between trying to look like I knew what I was doing, and literally keeping my head above water as I fought against waves that were far too big for me. Surfing wasn't my athletic calling, but I loved every second of being out on the water.

That said, I hadn't picked up a board since I was 15. I got distracted by sailing and an active social life. As you've learnt from my previous posts on diet and exercise, being fit wasn't a priority for me until recently and I didn't give surfing another thought.

This whole surf story is a bit of a background to the past few weeks which have seen me in the water almost every day with a friend who recently moved here from California. Her surf experience sounded similar to mine (ie, she wasn't a pro) and she has become the best surf buddy. She doesn't take it too seriously, yet she's up for trying anything, even when it's clear that we're getting our butts kicked by big waves. Even though we were sore for days after our first attempt, we kept going back for more. There's nothing better than being in the water, talking about life, watching the sun go down. The water soaks up every negative thought I may have had throughout the day and clears my mind completely.

These photos were taken on our first 'trip' with another friend who has recently moved here from Canada. Her boyfriend is the one who took most of the photos, and my brother is the one with enough patience to 'coach' 3 overenthusiastic girls.

My friend Setarra started a #ResidentTourist link up a month ago and this resonated with me so well! I know I sound like a spoiled brat saying this, but we often sometimes forget that we live in paradise because of the hustle and bustle of every day life. Her link up was timed perfectly with my newfound love for surfing and she's inspire me to become more engaged with what's going on around me. There's no better reminder that we live in paradise than experiencing something we take for granted through the eyes of a foreigner, and this was no exception. As she said 'travel is not just about going away to see beautiful places, it's about seeing the beauty in EVERY place... And trust me, there is so much beauty in your backyard just waiting for you to untap its potential.'


  1. Holy crap! Look at you on that board! Go Malou!!! This is so amazing and is something I can never imagine myself doing because I'm not a strong swimmer at all (I'm more of a doggy paddler kind of swimmer). I would be the girl rooting for you from the shore haha. I'm so in awe of you :)

    1. Haha thanks Setarra! You'd be surprised at how much fun it is, even for those who never imagined themselves on a board! I'll take you guys out to try it next time you're in Barbados :)

  2. I am a surfer back in South Africa - and reading this post was absolutely delightful. I loved your writing and your story.. I wish that my family had been like yours and that they surfed with me. They are always trying to talk me out of surfing - but they don't understand the incredible natural high you get from it.

    I am by no means a pro and probably look like an absolute dufus in the water - although I feel like 'The Shit!'
    It is best to not take it seriously - surfing is fun. Who cares what you look like - as long as you are enjoying yourself and revelling in the salt-encrusted happiness it gives you xx

    Gosh that water looks divine and you look good at what you do!! xx

    I am a new follower xxxx


    1. Jade, I'm sorry for the ridiculously late response! I'm only just catching up & fixing a few technical glitches on the blog and realised I missed your comment entirely!
      I would LOVE to surf in South Africa, just because it's so beautiful, but I think I'd be worried about the sharks! Where do you surf? Having family members who surf is a blessing, even though they make fun of me most of the time :)
      Thanks for following along! :)

  3. I liked this post! I'll have to come out surfing with you guys next time I'm home! My little cousins took me once over Christmas and it was pretty hilarious ( I'm sure I can outdo your clumsy :) ).

  4. Beautiful photos. I've never been surfing. :)