I have always loved to be in the water more than anything else. My mother has often called me
“dolphin”. I love the feeling of plunging into the water and letting the liquid force throw me back on the
surface and I love swimming through the currents, rips and waves.
I was not born near the coastline. I was not that lucky. But I was lucky enough to be born in a town with
a beautiful river and a lake which taught me everything a water lover could wish to know.
However, the ocean brought some newness that I had always dreamed of but hadn’t known that well.
And that novelty of the power of nature, unstoppable waves, strong currents, dreadful rips and
mesmerizing body of the ocean enchanted me. All these put a spell on me.
The fortunate circumstances brought me to the coastline. I had been many times to the coastline
before, of course. But those had been short holiday getaways, daily excursions and family vacations. But
moving to the place on the coastline was something different.
From the first day in my small room in the house on the beach I listened to the wind and ocean calling
me: “Hanna, Hanna…come over here”. And I obeyed. I spent all of my free time watching the waves and
learning how they played and how they were formed and how they forcefully broke onto the shore or
reefs. I was watching surfers enjoying their game while surrendering to the waves or trying to conquer
them, tame them and ride them. Many of them succeeded, but there were also those waves which were
untamable, wild, fierce and self-willed. They threw away the surfers, held them down beneath the
surface and threatened to take their lives. But luckily they never did. They just taught them the lesson,
the lesson that a human couldn’t fight against the force of nature.
And when I had enough of sitting and watching, I decided to give it a try. I borrowed an old long board,
full of dings and pressure points, from the old lifeguard Mark who was my neighbor and who had been,
once upon a time, a passionate surfer. A knee injury and old age made him give up on surfing big waves,
but once in a while, he grabbed a long board and paddled out to catch some knee-high waves and
enjoy the saltiness, sunshine and peace of the surroundings.
When I took his board and carried it down to the beach, some strange urge to get myself into the water
and try to catch a wave filled my body. I just wanted to try it. I wanted to immerse myself into the ocean
and let it guide me. And I did it. The first attempt to catch whitewash waves was unsuccessful. I kept
falling down, not being able to keep balance even for five seconds. And even though frustrating, it didn’t
discourage me. When I got so beaten up by the board and thrown down by the waves that tiredness
caught up with me and exhaustion made me weak, I had to stop. But I had intention to come back the
very next day.
And the next day, Mark lent me his board again. And I dragged it to the beach. It was heavy and I was
clumsy but I managed to safely bring it to my desired destination. And again, I practiced the same thing.
Paddling and standing up. It was hard and I was a complete novice in this beautiful and challenging game
called surfing but I already loved it despite all the bruises, swallowed salty water and hold-downs.
During the night, I kept dreaming the same dream. The waves rose out of the ocean’s surface and kept
calling me: “Hanna, Hanna…come over here”. And I couldn’t resist. I obeyed their request and played
with them struggling to find the same rhythm with them and to follow their graceful dance.
Slowly, step by step, as days went by, my surfing skills were improving. It was a slow progress but still I
was making little headway against this challenge.
After few months, I was able to ride the first green waves. My happiness was an indescribable intense
ecstasy. Mark must have noticed it since he decided to give me his old long board as a present. And my
surfing adventure began.
Every day I surfed. And I lived by the currents, tides, swells. I counted days according to good surfing
conditions and I remembered surfing moments more than any hour or minute. The ocean brought me
overpowering joy and delight. And I started living the life I had always dreamed of. And I still do.
And if you ask me what plans for future I have, I might not be able to answer the question completely.
But one thing I know for sure: no matter where I am, and how old I am, I will not be far from the ocean. I
will keep hugging it and embracing its currents, tides and waves, and I will keep surfing.