For some time now, a recurring challenge has been popping up in my mind. From seeing objects that trigger the memory, to hearing the sound of waves crashing upon each other. Every single time I get into the cold waters of the ocean, I can’t help but take a step back. Though I push myself to overcome the challenge and take a step forward. As the water reaches my torso, I make sure the board’s leash is wrapped around my ankle tightly and is secure. I push myself once more and overcome my recurring challenge of drowning.
How the challenge first came up was when I was 7. I remember my family and I were visiting my family back in Maui and my uncle took us fishing and surfing. I went on the longboard with my cousin, who was 18 at that time, since he told me the waves weren’t that big. At age 7, I was as small as a pomeranian and barely was able to climb into my dad’s truck. But, as for my cousin who is 6’1, the waves were nothing to him. They were merely a little splash to him. When I got onto the board, I had fun the first 10 minutes until a huge wave came towards us. My cousin brushed it off and decided to surf it while having a terrified 7 year old hold tightly onto his leg. I ended up being washed off the board and into the wave. Those seconds I spent drowning felt like forever.
But since then that happened, I was no longer able to go to the beach with my cousin. Even if I was allowed to, I was too terrified to get in the water. Having something like that happen, is traumatizing. It might sound over exaggerated but once you experience the feeling of drowning, you don’t want to ever face it again. I watched all my cousins go to the beach or swim in the pool. When I became 13, I decided to quit my fear and overcome it. I couldn’t let something that I enjoyed get destroyed by one event. It might be terrifying but gradually I’ll learn how to somewhat overcome it.
Now, I’m so glad I decided to overcome my challenge back when I was 13. I surf almost every friday after school or when I have free time. I go out to surf for myself, even if it is only for 15 minutes. Every second counts to me. It allows me to control my life and not let something stop me. To be honest, I look at the challenge as a motivation to push myself harder to get used to the water. Drowning is basically part of surfing. Every surfer has drown before, it teaches us how to prepare for the next one. I’m just glad I faced it instead of running away.
Even though I’m surfing like nothing ever happened, it still plays in my mind. The fact that drowning could happen at any second scares me. I always double strap my leash and make sure my board is waxed. Especially with winter waters coming in, the waves are going to be bigger and harsher. I think that’s always the pro’s and con’s of being a Menako (ocean child). Risking your life basically to catch some swells and being able to talk about it is great. Especially to people who are daredevils, such as I. Either way, It still challenges me to always watch out for the small things when surfing. Small things can quickly spread into a big one, just like a fire.