It’s International Women’s Day 2019, a day of appreciation, gratitude and respect.
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When I was a 'grommet', all I could think of was building a life based around surfing. I had a fleeting moment as a young teen surfer that I might strive to become a professional competitor, but truth be told I loved surfing mostly for the community, the travel, and that feeling of freedom that dancing on water permitted. Competing, sadly, gave me the shits (literally) and I simply could not stomach competition (pun intended).
Through my university years I surfed less and partied more. I dated a musician and our life was filled with live shows and loads of boozing. It was not until I moved to the coast of Japan, after a year in the mountains snowboarding, that I lived within walking distance from the surf and I possibly surfed harder and more frequently than ever. In my first trimester of pregnancy with Ryder, I jetted from Tokyo to Delhi, and spent almost a months surfing the west coast of India. Shortly after, my little bulging bump turned into a hindrance on a board, and I switched to an inflatable mat, getting in the water daily until the day of delivery. Post-baby, I surfed like a nut again, spending months in Australia with my cousin Serena, a surf coach and previously Australian champ, and also a new mum to baby Jet who was just two months older than Ryder.
Over the years that followed, I have learned that ocean and the joy it offers will always be a part of me, but that there is more to life than an unhealthy addiction to surfing. Travel and a love of the mountains has taken me off the beaten path more than once, particularly in the past two years as the kids and I have lived in locations far from the sea, such as Colombia's Bucaramanga, and Japan's Hakuba.
When I met Remy, it was as though we both felt the same about our love for surfing and our ease in adapting to varying landscapes and travel opportunities. In fact, in the first six months of living together in Australia, we surfed only once together. Our weekdays were filled with ocean swims and beach walks, but we had our heads buried in new pursuits - Virtual Reality development for me, and music for Remy. We thus did not hesitate to venture off on a surfboard-free road trip to far North Queensland, and then later a four-month epic across Asia and the Himalayas.
Fast forward a year, and we have both been missing the ocean. Jumping in for swims as much as we could during our weeks in Adelaide, when we arrived to Lennox Head to surprise the kids and re-organise our few belongings before Remy was to take off for a visa run to New Zealand (he left this morning) with plans to meet the kids and I in Canada by the end of the month, surfing was finally on the agenda.
We snuck our first little session in back at The Pass, in Byron Bay, with my cousin Serena and her kids. Then yesterday, with the winds offshore and eager for one last mini adventure before Remy hit the skies, we threw our boards in the car and took the ferry over to South Ballina to my favourite wave around this area (name omitted). As a true gentleman would do, Remy let me paddle out for a couple waves first. The water like a bath and crystal clear, I felt at home again on my board, although my shoulders and legs in their jelly state were yet to catch up. My first wave a wobbly disaster, by the second I recalled what it felt like to surf and I felt a deep sense of connection to riding waves that may never be lost despite how many months I spend away from the sea on my travels.
Remy was next, tag teaming daddy day care for the board and getting out there in board shorts to show me that this French surfer boy raised in Congo could still shred the lip, even tucking into a sneaky little closeout barrel and poking through the wave to claim a 'kinda' pit. After hours in the sun, with the kids screaming in joy as dolphins relentlessly bodysurfed the transparent waves, we packed up our gear and shuffled our sunburned pasty skin back to the car and home for one last family meal together for the month.
I feel like I went another layer deeper with Remy today, sharing this love of surfing that we have both grown up with but not yet had the opportunity to experience much together in our relationship.
As I kissed him goodbye this morning at Gold Coast Airport, my heart felt strong in our love and I bid him a great fucking trip.
See you in a few weeks babe. Ready for the next chapter.