So that´s it, that´s what it feels like. Being landlocked. Not being able to surf on a daily basis. The unfortunate reality for a lot of surfers who don´t live close to the beach. A completely new experience for those of us who are lucky enough to have an ocean near by. The global corona virus crisis has ´landlocked´ a lot of surfers on this planet.
Dont´get me wrong, I am not complaining. How could I? From the roof of my house in Fuerteventura I can still the see the ocean in the distance. But seeing the ocean and feeling the ocean, that´s two different pairs of shoes. Even though I am convinced that our absence will only benefit the health and balance of our oeceans, and even though, after 48 agonizing days, we are now allowed back in the ocean, I am still trying to come to terms with this short journey of being landlocked.
Living a surfer´s life – how it all started
The decision to live close to the ocean came naturallly. 12 years ago to be precise. I can´t even remember having made a decision at all. It wasn´t that at some point I decided to live in front of a wave, it was just that I couldn´t imagine not doing it. It just felt totally right and comfortable. This beautiful beach I lived at in Chile just gave me everything I wanted: the freedom to surf every day, at any given time. The freedom to live my life without having to wear shoes and making bonfires every night. The freedom to just be me.
Returning to Europe was a very personal decision. But never would it have crossed my mind to settle down somewhere away from the ocean. And that´s the funny thing. At not one point did I now even consider living landlocked. Why would I? The ocean provides me with everything I need and want. So to me it just made sense to go and live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
What happened next
So here I was, happily living on Fuerteventura. The small town I live in has no coastline, it´s right in the middle of the island, in between the North-, West- and Eastcoasts. So why would I want to live here instead of having the ocean in front of my window? Well, often you can´t really choose who you fall in love with, right? And I simply fell in love with the charm of Lajares, it´s vibes and people.
Also here on Fuerte, the wind can be a big issue. So having the choice of having all three coasts in short distance makes it a lot easier to decide in the morning where to go for a surf. Here we always depend on the swell and wind directions.
Back to me living and surfing without much worry. And once in a sudden, the world gets put on standbye. And the Spanisch government tells me that I have to stay inside my house. Sure, we were allowed to do the odd supermarket / pharamacy run but the ocean was totally off limits. And there I was. Being landlocked. I guess the term landlocked might not fit a 100% it because I live on an island. But the feeling must be pretty much the same: this subliminal feeling of not being able to access the ocean.
And that´s what being landlocked felt like
To be honest, it felt like a punch in the head and totally threw me off balance. I don´t know how the ocean does it but by now it is part of my personal existence. The ocean gives me balance when I am dangling off the ceiling. The ocean puts things (and myself) back into perspective every time. The ocean absorbs my emotions and turns them into pure joy. The ocean provides me with a sense of peace that´s hard to find anywhere else.
Surfing is a sport that get´s into your veins. It connects you with mother nature and with yourself. It teaches you to reset your body and mind, and it shows you how to flow. Even outside the water.
Having the privilage of living a surfer´s life temporarily taken away from me was something I have never even thought about before. And was something I wasn´t prepared for at all. Despite struggling to understand what is happening in the world and where we all went wrong, once in a sudden I had to find out how to channel my emotions outside the ocean. Who doesn`t know the feeling of going for a surf with the head filled with pain, anger or frustration – just to return from the ocean all reset and full of positive energy.
What I have learned
- Having lived without being able to surf tought me a lot of lessons. It made me realize how much I depend on the ocean and how important surfing it is for me. It is my job, which I love, but it is also so much more than that!
- I guess, appreciation is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. To appreciate how lucky I am to live my life this way, and how much for granted I have taken it.
- Gratitude for being able to share the moments in the water with other surfers would be another lecture I have been tought. I mean, how amazing does it feel to surf a nice wave and have someone cheering for you from the channel. Now that we have returned to the ocean I have noticed how the atmosphere in the water has changed. While before a lot of surfers, and that´s me included, would have been concentrated on catching as many great waves as possible, now waves are being let passed by, cheers of ´dale, dale´ (´go, go´) can be heard and smiles are present everywhere.
I feel like I have returned to the essence of surfing. Being a sport with a commercial site (which I am a part of) has made me somehow forget what surfing is all about. It´s about sharing moments, laughters and good vibes. So here I am now, having finished this unwanted ocean free time, and strangely I feel more connected to the ocean than ever before!
Thanks for joining me on my journey! Stay safe & healthy!