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We’ve all been there.

We’ve all been at the starting point of our surf journeys. Each one of us who have ingrained surfing as part of our lifestyle know every bit of the struggles, and every bit of the successes. At the end of each day, we’re humbled by what the ocean allows us. Now, we talk to surf enthusiast and new wahine, Chichi Adam, on her musings as a beginner.

Chichi Adam in her homebreak, San Juan, La Union

As told to Alyssa Castillo

I’ve always felt in tune with my body’s needs. Beyond the aesthetics, being physically active and caring for my well-being is a part of me I nurture. Surfing, I found, is a way to culminate the wellness of my mind, body, and soul.

I’ve been a beginner since… forever. The first time I tried surfing was 2013, when I was merely a tourist in La Union. It’s only upon moving to La Union mid-pandemic, that I’ve truly progressed.

I’d say that living in the city hindered by growth as a surfer. Living far away from my homebreak masked my fears to engage in the sport. But now, I’ve mustered up the courage to really get to know myself in the water. You see, takot ako sa tubig. It’s no surprise it took me a while to get to where I am now.

My fears? They haven’t changed. They haven’t become less or seem smaller in size. I worry about getting caught on the inside, and ruining someone’s ride. I worry about getting in the way and being hit by a fellow surfer’s board. I worry about drowning. Sometimes, I get scared of harsh wipeouts and big sets. Sometimes, I let the panic wash over me. And sometimes, I simply breathe and let go.

Photo by Tarish Zamora

My friends, who have been surfing for years, always tell me not to be afraid. Not to give into pressure. Not to compare my progress to others. And to enjoy every second, and believe in myself as I go. With their words of wisdom, they reassure me every now and then. There are instances I find myself looking at others not in envy, but for inspiration. In the water, there’s always something to learn from every individual.

Through time I’ve grown to become more confident. Being around a supportive surf community has undoubtedly helped in that area. When I’m with my friends in the water, they teach me what to do to protect myself. To enjoy. To learn. To let go. And to accept whatever mother nature gives me at the moment. The time and effort that my professional guides have put in teaching me are the hours I cherish. With all this, I feel safe. It’s nice to know there’s always someone looking out for me.

Sometimes I wonder if the waves can read me. If the ocean can sense my fears and my worries. If the ocean listens to me when I plead, “let me get this one.”

Being a beginner at the age of 30, I feel that there’s absolutely time for everything. Sure, I could have learn this sport earlier, but I have no regrets learning it only now. It’s this perspective that helps me expand my knowledge and outlook on surfing. Especially with the right company by my side, I’d say that this is exactly the right time for me to grow as a surfer.

I remind myself of the healthy pressure on my back, the acceptance and humility at every session, and to be mindful of the vibrations we all share in the sea. It’s my own process that should matter to me.

Eventually, I’ll get to where I want to be. But for the mean time, I say, “make the most out of being here now.”

Photo by Chichi Adam

Chichi Adam is an aspiring logger currently based in San Juan, La Union. You can find her on instagram at @chichiadam.

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