A soy latte, peppermint tea and a double choc muffin. An interview by Rachel Ratcliffe.
Three girls, fresh out of the surf.
Hair styled by the waves, sunglasses hold up some kind of hair control. Bras forgotten, blue lips, zinc still plastered on. The conversation begins, and of course it’s centered on surfing. I sit back and let it roll out, listening and laughing at their stories.
There’s Kylie, the new Australian…origin Canada.
She was once a weekend warrior surfer – just surfing when she could. But since moving to Ocean Grove 8 months ago, it’s now a full time job for her. It’s pretty obvious she has a lot of energy and she is certainly drawing more from the ocean. She has a killer smile and you notice it more when she’s had a great wave. She paddles back out, her long blonde hair covering her entire face, but not her beaming smile.
Karen (AKA “Bubbles”).
She goes hard. She will push you and give you confidence when a wave comes your way. She stands about 5’2”, but her ability to take off on a good set wave stretches her presence to the heavens. Plus she’s got this cutest giggle ever! (sorry mate)
…and there’s me (Rachel).
Q. What is it about surfing that makes you come back for more?
As they both search for words, their eyes are drawn up and away, their hands move to internal emotions, they sigh, tilt their heads, and shuffle their chairs trying to collect all their thoughts into words…. Impossible! We are women after all…. …lets put it into LOTS of words…
Karen. You know those postcards you see from like, Hawaii? The beautiful sunrise, perfect waves, blue ocean, white sand. Well, instead of picking that post card up and wishing you where there…YOU ARE THERE, living it. You’re a part of it, you are in that day, you are that picture.
Kylie. It’s so hard to explain. The very first time you really surf, IT IS INCREDIBLE, almost indescribable. It’s a rush. Now words started flying out of the both of them, as they explored what it is which really draws them to surfing. …It is just a different world. You spend most of your time and days trying to control every thing around you. What you eat, what you wear, how you drive, what you drive. But the best thing about the ocean is we have no control, we cannot control it. We are at the ocean’s mercy. You quickly learn to respect it. It humbles you, knowing that there is something bigger and more powerful than you’ll ever be.
Q. What is the coolest thing about the ocean?
K & K. It is, and will be forever changing, and you are forever learning. We agreed the one solid thing that stood out for all of us is that with surfing you can never completely master it. And every single time you are out there, it’s different, you’re different.
Soon some serious issues surfaced. It was revealed we all shared something else in common, besides surfing. All our mothers were affected with different mental struggles. It is quite hard to see your parents battle through. It is something you cannot ignore. Every time they go through something, you too are dragged along for the emotional ride. For those few moments as we talked, I felt like I could breathe new air. I had found this new sisterhood of understanding. For all of us, we had discovered our own source of prevention – our own kind of therapy, without councillors or medications to guide us through, we surfed! Our strength came from being away from land, beyond the shoreline, between the waves in the liquid serenity.
Q. So, is surfing a band-aid?
K & K. Alcohol and drugs they’re band-aids. Surfing helps you deal with issues. I nodded. I agreed. You are completely immersed in this liquid form, filled with minerals, vitamins and negative ions. You breath in clean fresh air, you exercise sending endorphins through your body, soaking up UV from the sun, the wind blowing onto your skin, exfoliating and drawing out toxins from your feet as you walk on the sand, wiping out cleans your sinuses (for days!). A complete all-over body hug as you dive under the ocean waves. It is a thousand times better than any health spa or retreat! Leaving land and stepping away from these things lets your body and mind heal. You get to take time to see things in a different perspective; you get time to find some peace. These waves we ride are significant. It encourages us to face all that life throws at us. The ocean – it will strengthen you physically and mentally. Another surf buddy, Mel, enters the scene. She went on a road trip with other girls the day before, and she was still buzzing. I asked her the same kind of questions.
Mel. It has to be the right time in your life to surf. I loved extreme sports like scuba diving, mountaineering, but being a mum, I kind of had to find a less dangerous sport and it is something I can do with my whole family.
Q. What’s so good about surfing at Ocean Grove?
It’s safe, people are pretty friendly, big beach, no locals rule stuff, suitable for all levels, more forgiving, perfect for the family, good amenities, heaps of fun chicks to surf with, check the surf from your car, cool to skate around. Ocean Grove wave is so underrated.
Q. What do you think all the boys feel about us being out there?
Well I think that one we will have to ask the boys..