Posts Tagged 'badly drawn boy'

Have You Fed The Fish?

“Sometimes you’ve got to rewind to go forward.
There’s some good times around the corner.”

From “Have You Fed The Fish?” by Badly Drawn Boy.


The other weekend I headed up to the North West Coast of Scotland with seven others.  The minibus drive through the glens brought us closer to stags than I have ever been as they sheltered in the comparative warmth of the valley in the wee small hours.  We awoke to the beauty of the view from our lochside cottage on Saturday morning to see a dusting of snow on the hilltops.

We drove north to a secret spot and watched the lines on the water come across the horizon with increased rhythm as the tide withdrew and the swell built.  We stripped off in the November air and clambered into our wetsuits, trying to read the sea and the positioning of the rocks on the reef break. 


I felt exhausted just paddling out beyond the whitewater and was happy to just sit on my surfboard and lap up the scenery as I looked over towards the Hebridies.

Truth be told, I was out of my depth, nervous of undoing my knee’s gradual recovery and scared of dashing my board or body on the rocks and boulders below and on the shoreline.  I felt unsteady, tired, injured and out of my comfort zone.  The few waves I tried for took me off with such force that I felt every ligament pulled and stretched close to snapping point as I went through the under surface washing machine desperately trying to protect my head from being whacked.


The afternoon session on the beach break was gorgeous, but I just couldn’t get my technique together despite the near perfect conditions and beautifully peeling waves…

Saturday night, I felt quite discouraged, out of practice, injured and a bit of a fraudster.  Maybe I should sell my board and wetsuit and recognise I’m getting older…

Sometimes, we just need to humble ourselves, stop pretending and recognise our limitations.  There are times to ask advice and questions – to be prepared to take a few steps backwards, to deconstruct notions and rebuild things afresh – to see ourselves as others do and to learn from that – to reposition ourselves – to stop battling against the waves in our own strength, using our own technique and bad habits.   

On Sunday morning we returned to the reef break.  I sat the session out, resting my sore knee and simply enjoying the scenery and the sound of the ocean.  I just took the time to feed my soul and to find pleasure in everyone else’s stoke.


We returned to the beach in the afternoon and, having constantly repeated all of the advice from the day before, it all came together with me catching most of the waves I went for. 

The waves were cresting perfectly and with precise rhythm as the spray projected small rainbows in the offshore wind behind the line-up.  I came out of the water under a setting sun as the stars began to light up, exhausted but deeply chuffed and focussed.


I need humility.  I need to listen.  I need a different stance at times.  I need discipline.  I need practice.  I need focus on the areas I need to work on.  I need to get fitter.  I love the rush.  I love the sence of feeling so small amidst creation.  I love to hear the whoops of my friends’ delight when the conditions come together or someone catches a really great ride.

Maybe the lessons reach far beyond surfing?



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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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