This I Believe

Rachel - New Glarus, Wisconsin
Entered on January 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work
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One foot positioned on the front of my skateboard, I pushed off with the other foot, then placed it near the tail. Gaining speed I wobbled and fell. One knee scraped and bruised from the brutal encounter with pavement. I tolerated throbbing knees, stinging palms, bleeding elbows. My goal was to learn to surf. I figured it would be easier for me to learn to surf if I could balance on a skateboard. After watching a documentary on surfers and skateboarders all I really wanted to do that summer was skate and learn to surf. It was difficult to do this, but like all goals I believe with determination and hard work they can be achieved. Living in the Midwest thousands of miles from the ocean was of course a problem, but I was working towards a family vacation to California. I researched a good city to visit, where to stay, and a camp to teach me to surf. After much research and convincing of my parents the trip was planned. I was going to California to surf.

Have you ever tried learning something new and felt clueless? I didn’t know anybody at all who skated. I didn’t know how to learn, didn’t know what to learn, didn’t know where to skate. It was like trying to play a soccer game without knowing the rules. I wasn’t going to let any of that bother me because on the way to every goal there are always obstacles to overcome.

If you’ve ever seen someone who skateboards well you know it looks effortless. It wasn’t effortless for me. I focused so I wouldn’t instantly fall. After many hours of practice I could stand on the skateboard then push myself short distances. I figured out that leaning would make the board turn. With the hot summer sun beating down on my shoulders I completed nice curving turns all the way down the country road outside my house. Then I set up neon orange cones along the road and weaved through them. Each time a car came I rushed to move all the cones to the side. Months passed and I was ready for the ocean.

The first time I saw the ocean was in Santa Monica. It was sunny, 70 degrees, with a cool ocean breeze that smelled like salt. An instructor taught me how to get to my feet on my surfboard. I practiced in the sand. Then it was time for the real thing. Grabbing my blue foam board I walked into the ocean up to my waist, pointed the nose of the board toward shore, lay down and paddled for the next whitewash wave full of foam. I popped up to my feet and rode it to shore. I had finally learned to surf. The rest of the week I spent as much time as I possibly could in the ocean catching wave after wave after wave. The planning of the trip and hours I spent out on the hot black pavement learning to skate paid off. Everyone’s goals are different, but I believe that with hard work and determination you’ll be surfing your way to them.