Because I hadn’t spent enough hours the day prior in a cold, damp wetsuit, I opted to head to Raglan next. Raglan’s on the west coast of New Zealand’s north island. It is known for but one thing really. As New Zealand’s surfing mecca.
Much like snowboarding, surfing was something that I’d always wanted to try. So here in Raglan I gave it a shot. The weather wasn’t great but the instructor was very good at keeping everyone moving. The waves were much larger than normal for beginners and the wind was howling, but we made the most of it.
(This photo was from the following day, which was nicer – another group of beginners out in the waves)
What I found quickly was that once again my lack of flexibility was troublesome, much like it was starting out snowboarding. But once I got the twists and motions down, I managed to stand and catch a wave. And it was awesome.
No pictures of the momentous occasion, but you can just picture me looking cool riding a wave on a blue surfboard.
Anyways, after 3 hours of learning, I was THOROUGHLY exhausted. And with a good limp where my surfboard smashed into my right thigh (nice fist-sized bruise from that) after I was tossed by a wave. This was far harder physically than snowboarding, since you have to actively run/swim back out each time. Given the waves were ~1.5-2 meters in height, that meant running and swimming against some strong currents.
Unlike snowboarding, which I picked up and enjoyed a lot, I don’t think I’ll be continuing with surfing. Partly because I’m only in Raglan for a couple days, and similar to snowboarding you’d need at least a full long weekend to really get some enjoyment out of learning to surf. But I simply didn’t enjoy it as much as snowboarding, and the desire to continue wasn’t there. It was fun and definitely an experience (and one that I’d recommend to most to at least TRY), just not to me. The boogie-boarders that were also out there though…I might do that. It seems like a nice compromise. Plus you still get to enjoy great scenery such as this.
Just don’t get me started on surfing culture.