The Day I Fell in Love by Emma-Jane Eeles
I remember the first time I hopped on a surfboard. It was a 6’ something Al Merrick gun and boy did I feel awkward. For starters, the board sank under my weight and when I paddled, my arms and legs were splaying everywhere.
Jumping off the rocks at Angourie I was so scared and all I recall now is screaming at my partner at the time that I was going to paddle across the bay to the rocks and get out. Little did I realise that 4 years later I would be laughing quietly to myself as I recalled this incident that was to be my initiation into the world of surfing.
For another whole year I persisted on that board on and off wondering if I would ever enjoy surfing this silly board that to me, seemed more suited to Kelly Slater pulling into 10 foot pipe. I persisted in paddling into 4 foot waves that would dump me and carry me on the white wash all the way to shore.
I was so in love with the ocean and the call of her salty goodness and that was what kept me returning to her day after day. I mean, that WAS what kept me returning until one sunny mid north coast afternoon in winter.
I was housesitting on a beautiful organic bamboo farm not far from a famed right hand point break. As I went into the shed on this particular sunny afternoon to feed the horses I stumbled across something magical. Right there in front of my eyes was a Billy Tolhurst 9’1 single fin hiding under ropes, stock feed and the likes. She was beautiful and rough. This board had not been used in a long time. I pulled her free and brought her out into the sunshine where her glassed fin shone like the most beautiful diamond I had ever seen. She beckoned to me and I responded by skipping inside, grabbing my bikini and strapping her to the roof of my car. As I drove to the beach I had butterflies in my tummy because I just knew something far more magical that anything I had ever experienced was about to happen.
And it did… I fell in love.
Paddling her out to the point on my knees felt so natural. As I caught my first wave I wasn’t sure how to guide her so I let her do the talking to the wave and it was as if she was dancing with me, just as a lover guides his goddess, she was to guide me to the far reaches of my soul that day as we danced and drew poetry along the tiny waves for hours as the sun set gracefully in the western sky.
For weeks on end, I would wake up, grab this magical board and drive to the point, eager to surf as the sun rose behind me enhancing these magical moments. I would surf for hours and hours and only come in to shore to eat or lay in the sun with my board nestled beside my body on the warm sand.
Since discovering my love of longboarding I have finally put into words what it means to me.
To me, longboarding is the art of wave riding and how I honour and praise my divine feminine. It is my religion and the sea is my church where I go to honour my God, the divine that resides within. Gliding along a wave is how I write my poetry. And this is my one true love. And that day, when I stumbled across that 9’6 single fin, is the day I fell in love.