Of Seas and Mountains
By Natalie Lincoln
Image © Netfalls / Fotolia
I love the Olympics. I love sport in general but the Olympics, summer or winter, or even the Commonwealth Games, brings out in me a desire to watch any, and every, sport out there. Sports I would never watch are suddenly of great interest: hockey, water polo, you name it, I suddenly develop a passion. My newest discovery was watching the women’s Rugby 7’s. Spectacular. Strong. Fast.
It’s lucky I love to watch other sports because running does very little for my own other sporting passions. Golf and netball are a couple. Surfing another.
A chick from the beach must surf. I was, perhaps, a little before my time. Twenty-five years ago, chicks out surfing was not as much the case and very few of us did it. However, having a surfing dad and the beach across the road, it was what I naturally wanted to do; competition in those days for females consisted of joining the local board riders and facing off against the boys.
A different story these days and when out there, the girls outnumber the boys more often than not and those groms are fierce. They will stare down a wizened old timer like myself in a declaration of superiority.
I smile. I’m too old to care anymore and leave them to it; I’m well beyond any hopes of being competitive. I don’t surf enough these days to even get a look in. Why? Well, currently because it’s winter. I carry a dislike of this annoying three-month event that insists upon returning year after year. Even in summer though I don a thermal rash shirt. I declare it’s for sun protection but really, it’s so I can stay out for longer than half-an-hour without freezing. This is despite living on the far north coast.
But why do I really rarely surf? Because I run. Most runs go something like this (if I’m on the coastal trail): head towards beach, see surf, smile, think ‘I’ll go out when I’m finished running’, run for x number of hours, get home, collapse. There is no way these legs, or any other part of my body is expending any more energy for the day.
Added to this is my lack of fitness. Yes, despite running for aforementioned hours, and despite legs that will plod me along for a while, the old arms don’t want a bar of it. Like my stretching endeavours, my ability to add strength work to my regime is decidedly limited (read: non-existent). And while speaking of paddling, due to lack of stretching, my cement block of a back and neck just don’t appreciate a good old paddle like they used to.
Running, really, just has to be the priority. Surfing, I do for fun. I run for fun too, but I can wing a surf every few weeks, or even months, without too much trouble. I can’t do this with running. I’m pacing my friend, Jill, during an ultra marathon in a month. I can’t just turn up four weeks from now and expect to be able to do that. I have to train.
Surfing is my first love. It will always be in my heart and make up a part of who I am. I will always consider myself a ‘surfer’ no matter how long I spend out of the water. The interesting thing happening though as I run more is that no matter where I am, I’m increasingly searching out the bush and hills. I will always want to know what the surf is doing, but now, I tend to look west as well and ponder what’s out there; I’m constantly spying mountain ranges and wondering if I can get there.
It’s not surprising to me really. The peace and joy I feel surfing, the oneness you feel, is just the same in the bush. It’s all about nature and how innocent, powerful, relaxing and exhilarating it is.