Years ago, when I was small and still believed in fairy tales. I used to dream of waking up a mermaid, so strong was my desire to live in the sea.
Age took away some of the magic I held dear, and at some point, I lost my love of diving in the ocean. Instead I became an older lady, fearful of grit under my toes, near petrified of seaweed.
The change was so gradual I didn’t even notice, until one day, stood by the glorious waters edge, I realised I didn’t want to swim anymore.
The mermaid in me had all but disappeared.
Until I met Rob…
This week I discovered that my childish love of the ocean was merely hiding under my skin, waiting to be found.
All I needed to awake my inner mermaid was a wetsuit, a surf board, and a man called Rob.
Crantock beach sits just beside Trevella Park, and is home to Crantock Surf school where myself, Owen and Molly spent a considerably amount of our Cornwall Adventure.
The first trauma for me was the wetsuit saga, last time I was in Cornwall I was a size 18. Asking for a size 10 nearly choked me, and paranoia that I would not be able to squeeze a limb through a sleeve was all consuming.
But it fit, which took away my chance to tell a funny tale. Although I smiled more than when I got my ass stuck in the 18.
Rob (owner of Crantocks surf school) is dedicated to his role and his teachings meant I had a strong idea of what I was meant to do with my board before I even hit the sea.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the surge of emotion as I “rode” my first wave.
The ocean pulled me from side to side, punishing me for my absence. The rip tide was annoyed, my legs took their punishment.
But suddenly I was a child again, waiting to jump the waves with my dad by my side.
I looked behind, seeing the mumblings of the sea, I mounted my board (as Rob had taught me how). I paddled, arms thrusting through the water, aching with the pace. Suddenly I felt the weight of water behind me, pushing, thrusting, swelling and then I was off. My mind furiously trying to recall what Rob had taught me on the beach…
Arms up, knees up, front knee up, kung fu style legs, my mind raced, my body tried to keep up, my inner mermaid struggled to break free.
I felt my body raise out of the water, the board found its place under my feet and suddenly…
My arse crashed into the water like shamu in her earlier years.
Rob is bloody good, but no one could get me surfing on my first wave!
However, my arse rose to the occasion on the second wave and I cruised into shore like Keanu Reeves in Point Break.
(You can just see me wobbling into a stand…)
But I loved it, and the surfschool was exceptional. I was in the water with Molly and Owen and other wannabe surfers for two hours and not once did I worry about the kids or my own safety.
The kids seemed to be naturals, Molly fought every inch of the pain that surges through her limbs to be able to take part. When we had finished with the sea we walked back to the surf shack. I heard my eldest daughter mutter to her legs,
“You won’t beat me, CRPS, you won’t stop me doing stuff.”
As always I welled up, overwhelmed by emotion at how hard she fights. If she hadn’t have bought in to Rob, and his team, JC and Tom, she would have never gone in the water. She trusted them to not add any extra pain to her already ravaged body and they were truely exceptional with her and Owen.
So of course we went back for more, and more again…
I can stand on a board, turn on a board, and my falling gets better each time. The kids can do tricks and don’t seem to launch off their boards anymore.
My inner mermaid is well and truly awoken, my daughter has spent hours of valuable physio time in the sea, and my son has grinned for hours in the water.
(Rob – we will see you next year!)