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Why Picking Up Surfing Was the Best Choice I Made During Quarantine

When I came to college from northern California, I was picturing having the ultimate “southern California experience.” I even made a whole Pinterest board about it. Well, by the end of my second year, I’d been to the beach maybe 4 times, and most of the time I never even went in the water. Most beach trips consisted of nighttime bonfires, walking along Balboa Island, or dipping toes in the water for photoshoots. But once quarantine happened, and I was pushed back into my house for months with nothing to do, I decided that once I could I was finally going to actualize my idea of living the ‘so-cal life.’ When things started opening up again after lockdown, I reached out to a friend who I knew surfed, and we made plans to head out to the water. 

Sunset Beach Girl Ocean Water Sky Nature Peaceful
Charlotte Reader / Her Campus

I grew up competitively swimming, so I thought I would pick up surfing pretty naturally. Boy, was I wrong. The first moments out in the water, I learned pretty quickly that nothing can prepare someone for paddling out on an 8-foot hunk of fiberglass, battling waves, getting thrown off again and again, and having to keep going.On my first day I didn’t even catch a wave.

I would helplessly paddle out, just to fall over once I got on my feet again. Or, I would just ride in on my stomach the whole time, too freaked out to stand.

sunset surf girl
Photo by Linus Nylund from Unsplash

Fortunately for me, I had an encouraging group of people around me ready to push me back out onto the water once I fell off. And by my second time out on the water, I actually rode my first wave. Some people out in the water actually cheered me on after watching me fall for the past 2 hours prior. It was an amazing experience. 

Now, three months later, I strap my own board onto the roof of my tiny car and drive out 50 minutes to Huntington to surf almost twice a week. The biggest challenge for me wasn’t paddling out, standing up, or catching a wave, instead,  it was simply going for it! 

surfing big wave
Photo by guille pozzi from Unsplash

Sitting at home for three months during COVID taught me a lot about not being able to go for anything other than a 30-minute nature walk once a day. But picking up surfing has taught me that simply having the courage to ‘go for it,” whether it’s a wave or an internship, pursuing a passion or a guy, courage goes a long way. 

And now when I’m out on the waves, though I may not be too great at surfing yet, I always feel grateful for the experience of surfing and all that it’s taught me. Now go for it! Whatever “it” may be. 

Grace LemMon

UC Riverside '22

It's Grace! I am a student at UC Riverside, studying Theatre, Film, and Digital Production. Post-grad I want to be a post-production editor and work one day as a big-shot producer. Most of all, I want to be thriving and passionate. In my free time, I'm surfing, drinking coffee, and watching new movies :-) instagram: gracejlemmon
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