Inspired by another
It’s the last Sunday in autumn and we’re at the beach. The rest of the family are in wetsuits but I’m braving the chill in my one piece. It’s a magical day, not a cloud in the sky, a buttery sun beating down and a sea as clear as a freshly washed window pane.The water is a bit cold and I have a terrible habit of giggling very loudly as I walk my way from the shore into the deep. My family know exactly what I’m like and have abandoned me as a result. They’ve swum further down the beach to pretend that I’m not with them.It’s just my boogie board and me…and another lady with a boogie board. She’s elderly, wearing a black steamer with a purple canvas hat tied securely under her chin. We’ve kind of ended up near each other and she gives me a welcome nod as I groggily emerge from a full-body dunking by a sneaky wave.My personal challenge has been to master boogie-boarding and I’ve been trying pretty hard all summer. But the little I have learnt seems piddling in light of my companion’s prowess. This lady is catching wave after wave, and riding them all the way into shore. She’s impressive!We’re next to each other again, looking past the swell. She introduces herself – tells me her name and where she lives. She’s 76 years old and has been boogie-boarding for the past 6 years, since she came to the coast from 400 kilometres inland. She drives the 14 kilometre round trip each day to this beach because it’s the best for boarding, in her opinion. She definitely is impressive!She can see I’m having a bit of trouble so she gives me some tips. She shows me how to hold the board, how to get down low before the wave comes and how to transfer my weight once I’m on the surging sea. We catch quite a few waves together as I try to replicate what I’ve been shown. She even swaps boards with me to check if I can ride better with hers. When the result is the same, I put the problem down to operator error and we agree more practice is needed.The time flies by as we chat between rides into shore. The rest of my family have finished up and are towelling off on the sand. The lady in the purple hat and I agree on two more tries before calling it quits for today. An exhilarating ride all the way into shore, followed by a final pummelling as I fall off my board halfway in, ends our session.We stagger into shore and I thank the lady in the purple hat for her help. She tells me how much fun she’s had having someone to boogie-board with. I tell her I’m going to look out for her the next time I bring my boogie-board to the beach and that she’d better be wearing her purple hat!