It comes as no surprise to anyone that I like being outdoors, I love the mountains, hills, rivers and sea. It should also not come as a surprise that I like a bit of adrenalin, and a bit of a challenge. However, it may come as a surprise that I don't really like water, I am not a strong swimmer, I am terrified of deep water (really gives me the heebie jeebies) and I have a fear of big waves. So. What do I decide to do? Learn to surf of course....
It was my husband, who is a DofE Assessor who told me about the Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge. He knows that it is one thing that I really wish I could have had the opportunity to do when I was at school, but my school (a 'challenging' Comprehensive in Bristol) just didn't do it.
The aim of the Diamond Challenge was to mark the 60th Anniversary in 2016 of the DofE Award Scheme. People were invited to challenge themselves, to go out 'of their comfort zone' and do something they have always wanted to do. It could be climbing a mountain, learning a language or giving up smoking. So I decided to do something I have always wanted to do and along the way meet some of my phobias head on.
So, the scene was set. It was a glorious Bank Holiday weekend in St Davids, Pembrokeshire. We were camping with a group of friends from the Canoe Club who all thought it was hilarious that we had arrived with no canoe kit just some wet suits and an inane grin!
Whitesands Bay was just perfect. We had clean 2-3 foot waves with a steady break and I was fortunate enough to have my very own Surf Instructor - my husband! Suffice to say, it took a while, a long while....ok, a VERY long while for me to even start to think about 'popping up'. The great thing was though that the buzz I got from just catching a wave put paid to my fears of the water. It was not long until I was hooked.
So, did I actually manage to stand up and surf? Ummm.....well...... The first time I stood up I was so elated that I clearly couldn't contain my excitement, and much to the amusement of everyone watching I proceeded to cheer, wave my hands in the air, whoop a great deal and then walked straight off the end of the board. But hey, I had done it! My first surf ever.
I was so utterly overwhelmed that I then failed to catch another wave for about an hour, instead I had to watch in awe as my daughter and her friend Felix took to it like ducks to water and were both just effortlessly surfing past me looking cool and 'surfy'. Whereas I looked like a drowned rat, bedraggled hair, a very pink nose and doing a very weird squat type stance on the few occasions I did manage to stand up.
Despite this, I DID SURF!!! I learnt. And I loved every single minute of it, so much so that I have now bought myself a board and I cannot wait for the warmer days to arrive so I can surf, surf, surf.
DofE Diamond Challenge. TICK. Thank you Duke of Ednigburgh, I truly would not have done this without you and it was an honour to be part of the 2016 Diamond Challenge Alumni.
Now....what shall I do in 2017.....
If you would like to do the DofE Diamond Challenge, YOU CAN! Follow this link DofE Diamond Challenge - SIGN UP HERE