I spent this past weekend camping up at one of my favorite places, Bear Lake. Bear Lake has been a tradition in my family since I was born, and it’s even where we met our best friends. They are currently building a cabin there so my family decided to join them for a weekend at the lake.
One of my favorite things to do at the lake is boating. I love tubing, and especially wakeboarding, but this time they had something new for us to try: surfing. Granted, there aren’t natural waves large enough to go surfing so we had to create our own and surf behind the boat. Unlike wakeboarding, your feet don’t have shoes to slide into they have to sit on the board, and instead of holding a rope with a bar you get a rope with knots so that you can surf without the rope.
When I got out onto the lake with the board under my feet and the rope in my hands, I kept repeating what they had told me: just stand up. So when I yelled, “Ready!” and the boat started going I flew backwards and swallowed what felt like gallons of the lake. I was choking on freezing water trying to swim towards the board that was now floating away.
Once I could breathe, I was adamant on trying again. This time I finally got up on the board, but in seconds I had leaned backwards and splashed into the lake once again. This happened a few times, each crash bringing along another bit of advice. Hold onto the rope more, pull yourself up, try to balance, don’t lean back, etc.
I then found myself trying to follow each tip, completely forgetting the first thing I was told: just stand up. When the boat started I gripped the rope, holding on for dear life, and flew. The board was long gone behind me as I gripped the rope and flew through the air until I realized that I needed to let go. My fingers slipped from the thick rope slamming into the lake moments before the rest of my belly-flopped.
While swimming towards the boat, I found myself unable to move my knees. Somehow smashing into the water had hurt them, even if I had been doing it all morning. So I took a break from surfing, and sat in the boat joking around with my brother about how I looked like Tarzan.
The next day my knees felt better so I decided to try again, but each time I tried I found myself doing the exact thing I had done the day before and still unable to get up. By the time I recognized what I was doing wrong, my knees and hands hurt too much to try again.
On the way home I was thinking about how long it was taking me to learn how to surf, even when it took me two tries to wakeboard, and surfing was supposedly easier. The difference with wakeboarding was that I didn’t expect anything of myself. I had never tried anything of that sort before, and had no expectations of what I would or wouldn’t be able to do. But with surfing, I expected myself to catch on easily and surf as well as I could wakeboard. I was stressing myself out over trying to do every single thing perfect when the only thing I really had to do was just stand up.