My friend Victoria bought a skateboard recently and has taken to riding it along the carpeted corridors of academia. That’s all very well you might say, until I tell you that Victoria is in her mid-forties and a Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture with the serene demeanour of a nun. Then you might laugh or look confused.
Every now and then I tell someone that I dream of being a Surfer and they usually laugh out loud or look at me wide-eyed and speechless for a moment before asking, ‘Why?’
Let’s face it, most people imagine surfers (and skateboarders) to be young men, with long hair and suntanned muscles. As hard as it is to admit, I guess there is absolutely nothing about me that suggests ‘Surfer chick’. I’m in my mid-forties, I live in the suburbs of London and last year I had knee surgery. I only manage to get down to the sea about twice a year and I don’t know how to surf.
But that doesn’t mean a girl can’t dream. And if Victoria can do it, why can’t I?
As a teenager I loved to body surf and boogie board. I could never understand how other girls my age could just lie on the beach all day tanning without swimming in the sea.
The attraction of surfing lies in my love of the ocean and the sense of freedom it represents. It looks like the most exhilarating sport there is and one that is closely attuned to Mother Nature.
I can only imagine the wild rush of riding a wave and sensing the energy of the ocean beneath your feet, feeling sea spray on your skin and succumbing to the power of the waves when taking a tumble and being sucked beneath the water.
Women who Surf: The Women and the Waves
So, I was really intrigued when I came across the movie trailer on YouTube of a film called The Women and the Waves. Shot in California, Mexico and Hawaii, The Women and the Waves is a documentary surf film that explores the lives of female surfers. It combines archive footage and candid interviews to showcase women of all ages that have made an impact in the male-dominated world of surfing.
Women surfers have been around for a while now, but they’re still a fairly unusual sight and challenge the surfer dude stereotype. Which is always a good thing.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can’t wait to get hold of a copy and have no doubt it will be inspiring. And while I continue to yearn to surf, I am now wondering about getting a skateboard. Perhaps this is all about challenging the image I have of myself!
Photo: Thanks to Jim Bahn on Flickr.com