Relocating back to the UK has been a gradual reversal of culture shock. In the last six months I’ve been staggered by the pleases and thank yous
we deal to each other, the strict adherence to queuing etiquette and of course, retraining my brain to remember to check the weather forecast before heading outside. All of these seem rather standard side-effects of moving back into your home country, but perhaps a more obscure shock after bathing in Dubai’s balmy 30 degree waters, is that people actually swim in the UK’s bracing seas. Madness. The most shocking part of all was that I was about to join them.
On a summer trip to Cornwall, I was somehow so captivated by the dramatic coastline and the bravery of those splashing about in the waves, that before I knew it I was donned in a wetsuit, clutching a body board and had the rather gratifying feeling of sand between my toes once again. I strode down the beach; hair flying in my face and a smile puckering my cheeks. It was time to body board again.
I adored this past time in Dubai – it was a quick way to inject excitement into a lazy weekend beach visit and the bonus was, I could soak up the sun too.
Body boarding could be described as a poor man’s surfing, but I wholeheartedly disagree. The sport is more accessible than surfing because you need little talent more than jumping to lay flat on a board as a wave breaks making it perfect for first timers. That’s not to say you don’t need to be talented or experienced to make it big time in body boarding, but it’s an ideal way for someone, like me, who thrives on the thrill of being semi successful at something the first time they try it.
My Dubai experience sadly didn’t grant me too many big waves, but the coves around Newquay didn’t disappoint: at least not by my rookie standards. With the water around waist height, I positioned the board in front of my hips and waited for a wave that looked good enough. Of course there were the obvious flops when you call out your mate, ‘this one, this big one, ready?’ before ending up just two short feet away. Embarrassing. Then there are the times you get frustrated and plunge further into the rolling waves in search of a big wave only to be slapped square in the face by one you’d have caught if you’d not moved.
Beyond those however, there are the diamonds in the rough; the waves that are just memorable. I had two on this holiday and while that doesn’t seem a lot; both were incredible.
The first wave I dubbed ‘the long shot’. It seemed a decent so I hooked on as a last minute decision and I do not lie when I say this, I not only reached the beach, I skimmed on what must’ve been less than two inches of water for what felt an eternity. I ended in a smiley stupor at the base of the lifeguard flags and turned around to salute my compatriot, who, by the look on his face was both in awe and frustrated he didn’t join the ‘long shot’ wave party.
The second wave I named ‘the hustler’. She propelled me forward with such force that I had to learn pretty quickly to dodge other body boarders and a few swimmers. It reminded me how vulnerable we can all be to the power of nature and to respect our limits within it, and so with this, satisfied that I had caught a number of good waves that week including two amazing ones, I retired from the sea.
So the big question: will I go body boarding again? Yes. Will I go body boarding again in the UK despite the cooler temperatures? Certainly! Body boarding should be a must-do on everyone’s beach holiday list!