Sometimes you just have go.
By Stu Knox.
I love bodyboarding. To put it in context, I am one of the lucky people in the world that works in a field they love, which is wine and food, yet I still resent my job because I can’t go bodyboarding.
I’ve spent close enough to 40 years in the water, my stoke for it does ebb and flow, For the first 15 it was bodyboard or die and then other things distracted me. This isn’t a complaint, several of those things have been awesome, my wife and my job came from it.
Recently I’ve found my way back to the sport in a quite intense way. That’s probably obvious because I’m writing this! I have a lot of thoughts and opinions, but the real key is the fact that every day I woke up with the stoke and wanted to go bodyboarding.
Then things happened, I own my own business and we saw our numbers crash and burn during the bush fires. I watched and surfed as those numbers kept being down into January and February. That’s ok I though, I’ll find a way through and rolled into March. Early March didn’t offer me much in waves, so I stayed focused on my business, kept thinking I’ll get a wave next week but then BOOM. COVID hit. Suddenly I was jumping more than a longtail cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Every, minute, hour and day shit would change so I kept working.
Eventually, it all settled, and I thought early April l can get in the water. See that, that’s the rug we live on, and whoosh, it was ripped from beneath me and my local (Maroubra) was closed. People are idiots. !. So now here I was, with time on my hands but no beach. Good mates messaged and said come north/south because our beaches are open. I’m not a localism fan but this wasn’t the time to test it. I don’t want to be part of the problem that closes other people’s beaches.
We passed Easter and hope was on the horizon then BANG, I fucked my back. Here we are, after 6 weeks out of the water and the body goes bad. Well, probably not but it felt that way. So I did the recovery work whilst also having the realisation that 47 may feel young but the body doesn’t want to bounce back like it used to.
I reached the point I could, but I found excuse not to. Wind was shit, kids need me etc. But the voice in the back said ‘Stu, you can’t have opinions about the sport you love if you don’t take part’. But I said get fucked, however, I set the alarm. It went off, and I snoozed it, then turned it off. I got up eventually knowing that my window was max 1 hour in water, so I spent 15 minutes taking a shit. But eventually I explained to myself that I be angry at myself later if I didn’t.
Maroubra car park is closed, I walked in. It was offshore but mega crowded, 4-5ft with rogue 6ft sets.
Walk to the edge, knowing I should go south because my lungs wouldn’t cope with the paddle. But fuck it, I jumped in, paddled hard and got outside. Breathing deep, trying not to spew. Legs and arms shaking from the effort. Scratch into one, nothing much happens. Paddle back out, move, scratch, move, scratch etc. I start to get rhythm back and can see the double ups build. Scratch, hard, becomes sand reef, water dredging off and freefall.
The above is how it felt, but the brain said go, go, don’t go, you might hurt back, fuck the back, just go. And I went, got destroyed and came up smiling.
I only tell this story because I’ve faced the apathy demons, I do every day when it’s cold, I’m tired, the kids, it’s not great or, as this year proved, there’s a global pandemic facing your business.
The thing about demons is they’re a lot smaller after you’ve had a dose of vitamin sea and when the demons are smaller, they’re much easier to face.