Ever wonder what some people experience when they’re starting out as a surfer in a not-so-tropical locale?
Sophia Hobbs wrote to us about her Landlocked Surfers Club in the UK. Her enthusiasm for surfing made us want to know more about her experiences as a budding surfer….
The Land Locked Surfer Club
Written by Sophia Hobbs
Sophia Hobbs (Photograph by Jemima Stubbs)
Somewhat reluctantly I wash the last remnants of sea water out of my hair and try not to mourn the waves. Being a land locked surfer is comparable to wondering if you’ve left the oven on. There’s this constant feeling of inertia like something isn’t quite right with your day, couple this sensation with living in an industrial city and it’s easy for those yearnings to become insatiable.
For me surfing has always been a process of reacquainting myself with the person I am and who I want to be. It sought me during a time in my life when very little could break through the sadness and nowadays it’s such an integral part of my day that don’t think I’ll ever be able to give it up. This all so funny when I think of what a mess I must look, trying to negotiate pounding surf and a board which bucks like a bronco! But that’s the great thing about surfing, part of the fun is the challenge, breaking through the wall of frustration after a wipe out and maintaining your motivation.
Whilst the solace I derive from surfing affects me on a very individual level, it is the friendships I’ve formed because of it, which I value most of all. Not too long ago I became reacquainted with a university friend who mirrored my desire to go surfing with more frequency. Together we embarked on a pilgrimage to Saltburn a little coastal town on the North East coast of the UK. This is the stomping ground of cold water surfers who are just as likely to catch hypothermia as they’ll catch a wave. To surf these waves is an initiation, you have to earn every second of being in that water.
The elements however are juxtaposed by the warmth of the locals, whether it’s a kind word from the land lady, advice from Nick the local surf shack owner or helloes exchanged in the water, everything about the Northern town makes surfing there magical. To me surfing will always be about communities, from the ecosystems you inadvertently inhabit sat astride your board, to the locals you visit whilst on your trip. We are all irrevocably entwined and depend on one another. Which got me thinking, I can’t be the only person in the UK who’s trapped in a city wishing they had the means and advantages to live by the coast? And thus The Land Locked Surfers Club was born.
We’re a motley tribe of artists, mothers, graduates, photographers, environmentalists and we’re growing by the day. We do the social media thing functioning through a facebook page and my personal blog ‘Real Women Have Curves And Surfboards.’ I cannot articulate what a warm fuzzy feeling I felt helping first time surfers get acquainted with the sport and even prouder when they became hooked. Weirdly enough it’s starting to become something, something tangible and I hope the phenomenon spreads. Surfing not only reconnected me with my innate self it’s also helped me forge both strong and fledgling friendships and it is my hope people stuck in cities all over the UK are able to get involved and start caring about the ocean which surrounds our fair isle.
Can I stand on a board frequently…not really, would I class myself as a surfer…absolutely! When my feet meet ocean my soul finds solace, I am goofy happy, even after my millionth wipe out. Surfing reminds me I’m but a small biological being but that I am connected to everything; in the ocean you are touching every continent in the world and really are a part of something.
The Land Locked Surfers are a friendly bunch, so whether you’re getting barrels every time or have yet to dip your toe in salt water please do come join us, the more is always merrier.
Jemima Stubbs Photography https://www.facebook.com/JemimaStubbsPhotography
Ian Crockett https://www.facebook.com/ian.d.crockett?fref=ts