Touch the blue to beat the blues | Pt 1

Scott McKenzie reflects on how surfing is beneficial for his mental wellbeing at any time, but especially during these challenging times.

By Scott McKenzie

The wait can be exciting.

I’m sure every surfer out there checks Swellnet or Willyweather at least daily to see when the next favourable conditions are forecast.

Although, even when the forecast a week out looks spot-on, there is still no guarantee it will be any good on the day.

It is a bit like Christmas. You know it is coming. You know there are going to be presents. You get more excited as the day approaches, and you hope that it will be the best gift ever. Not another pair of lame socks like last time!

So anyway, the forecast for today looked pretty good. Smallish swell and light offshore winds. (Couldn’t ask for more during the shortest days of winter)

I waited until mid-morning, when the frost on the grass had thawed, and I went to check The Point.

I bumped into one of the more senior local surfers on my way there and we discussed what it had been like the last few days, and what it might be like today. (if nothing else discussing the surf makes for a change from just discussing the weather in general…)

That brief meeting highlighted another thing I think is great about surfing. It is inter-generational.

The ‘stoke’ is just as real for the surfers who have been around for a while as it is for the young ‘groms’, boys and girls, who are just starting to surf  ‘out the back’

These last months of home schooling have seen many days of the young ‘groms’ being out there during ‘school hours’ having a blast with no one else around. They did assure me when I asked that they were just taking a break from their studies.

I think having fun and a laugh with your mates is great for mental wellbeing.  There is nothing funnier then encouraging one of your mates to go for the biggest wave of the set (Paddle! You’ll make it!!) and then laughing uproariously when they get dragged over-the-falls and washed across the reef. – this is called “not making it” for all of you non-surfers.

Not that I am some kind of sociopath. It is more like laughing with your mate than at your mate. I’m sure every surfer out there has been dragged over-the-falls at some point.

I find just sitting on my surfboard, out in the ocean, is great for my mental wellbeing. Sitting out at the Point and looking down our coastline is amazing.  Every time I try and be conscious of not taking our amazing part of the world for granted.

Gibbo’s (Gibson Steps) is another spot that I try not to take for granted.  When you sit out there in the surf you are literally in the shadows of the world-famous rock stacks. Although their fame and rock-star crowd pulling power don’t really rate a thought as you keep an eye out for the next line of swell sweeping in. The view from out in the water there is pretty incredible.

Another great thing about surfing is that it is always a bit of an adventure. Even at a local level.

To surf Lace-o’s (Lace Curtains) is via a semi-secret vehicle track and a virtually hidden goat-track through the scrub.

The third spot I checked out today is another semi-secret location with a bit of a walk followed by a steep goat-track down from some pretty high cliffs.

It was at this at spot that I stood on the cliff-top watching the five guys out surfing for almost an hour. No one was getting anything much then just as I was about to leave one of the unidentified surfers got a great wave that he ended up getting barrelled on. Another random reason why surfing is great. That one good wave after ages of waiting. You share it with your fellow surfers at the time. Be it your wave or their wave, if it was a ripper, everyone is stoked for the one who got it, and it will be relived many times over later on with those who were there, or mates who weren’t. The latter usually involving a much bigger, better, more life-threatening version of the wave!

Today’s swell forecast shows it increasing in size through the day.

Based on that I have convinced myself that in the six hours since I looked the previously flat Point will now be epic.

I am off for another look.


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