June 8th: The Shift

Thursday morning we were back at Praia Grande and it was nothing but wipe outs again. Some of us grabbed lunch at the restaurant overlooking the beach and spending time with my new friends helped to lift my spirits a bit. So did the lobster risotto and adorable chocolate puppy who sat in my lap and snuggled with me. Puppies make everything better.

Julika drove me back to the camp so I could talk to her about my project and she gave me a few references.

I skipped yoga in the evening because I was feeling shitty. I needed to write and try to have some alone time. My self-esteem was plummeting quickly and I’d already committed to a sunset surf in the evening.
Why was this so much harder than anything else I had ever tried? Why wasn’t I progressing at all? It’s been four days, how am I not a pro surfer yet? Why can’t I catch one damn wave? Why are my shoulders aching? What am I doing here?

After I poured my self-loathing into my journal I looked up and peeking out from the shelf next to the fireplace was a book called Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing.


It was exactly the kind of book that would be great research for my thesis idea.

Then I read the introduction:

Many of the works of art in Surf Culture were made by artists who identify themselves primarily as surfers, others were made by artists who surf. As surfers, artist, or surfer-artists, they are united by the idea that rules are made to be broken. Their achievements demonstrate the way ideas have traveled from surfing to art and back again – from works of art made of surfboard materials to surf logos and ads that incorporate the techniques and talents of contemporary artists.
— Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing

After I read this, something in me shifted.

Simon was standing at the door.

“Leah, sunset surf. You ready?”

I closed the book shut and smiled at Simon.

“Bring it on.”

On June 8th, 2017 during sunset at Praia Grande, I caught my first wave.