With the stoked American accent I say, “DuDe wAnnA SURF?!” A friend said it sounds stupid (thanks to the movie Dumb and Dumber) but then, to appreciate something, you have to look into it deeper. As early as six in the morning my alarm goes off and the routine starts, work-gym-work-work and more work. I am in the publishing and advertising sales industry so do the math. Bottom line is, this job requires a lot of time and attention. I have always been fascinated watching surfers plus my best friend is a crazy surfer! I just think it looks awesome. So to remind myself to one day try it, I changed my Twitter handle to dudewannasurf, literally I wanna surf!
After a few invites, finally in the right timing, I said yes. Background check though, I know how to swim but not that good, and I do have the fear of the sea, so when I decided I wanted to surf, I was thinking about living life with fear is like hindering something great from happening, a feeling called stoked. Having the handle name dudewannasurf was more than sounding cool, for me, it is really about conquering fear, facing it head on to experience life at its fullest. After my first surf weekend, I can say that after twenty nine years of living, travelling to different countries and different beaches, my La Union trip is by far, the best beach trip I ever had (and the cheapest too!! ). Another surf baby was born in La Union on December 10, 2011 at around 3:00PM.
My fast paced life drained me, but this trip I had over the weekend was something I anticipated, that I worked out in the gym religiously to condition my body (more of having obsessive compulsive- perfectionist tendencies). I wanted to be ready to experience being stoked just find out later how much it has impacted me as a person. And so upon arriving and settling down, it was time to face my fears. My friend Kara introduced me to Lemon who hooked me up with my instructor who briefed me about the surf board, how to pop up, stand, balance and ride. The first set of attempts, I was being pushed by the instructor and that translates to numerous wipe outs! If you are a beginner and have no wipe outs YOU MUST BE A SURF GOD! Day one was exploring the wonderful world of wipe outs and learning how to balance on a board. After being wiped out and smashing into the sea for the inth time, it just happened I had one long good ride and I was so amazed! Wow! I was already thinking, I didn’t want to come out of this as a failure. I had to focus, this is it… focus and balance… and yes with this in my mind I got wiped out more! Until I heard my friend Kara scream “Go Bryce!” and the instructor “Tayo!” with so much conviction, and there it was my first long ride! I screamed the sound of SUCCESS! I did not fail this beautiful woman cheering for me(sometimes we need pressure from a chic! haha). After that of course, I had to endure more wipe outs! The first ride was amazing. I was stoked out of the fact that I did it! I was surfing. In life, we have to take numerous attempts and fail over and over again, and that means we don’t stop trying until we get that right balance and next thing you know you’re up for a long ride. I got hooked after that “first stoke.” I caught myself relating life and my spirituality to surfing. I guess this is why, once you get stoked you’re going to get hooked into it.
If I come to think about the whole experience it goes beyond being on the wave and surfing. My instructors Kuya Jo and Kuya Nano were really patient and supportive. Every wipe out they tell me “You can do it!”, “Kaya mo yan”, “Kung talagang gusto mo gagaling ka (if you really get better you will)”, “Sige pa makukuha mo yan. (Keep going you will get it just keep trying)” it felt like someone believed in me so much I can conquer anything. In fact, this is what every man needs to hear. To be constantly reminded “YOU CAN DO IT (Kaya mo yan)” I did share to them that I have always wanted to surf but I am not a good swimmer, but more than anything else, I was there to really conquer my fear and to do something I never imagined I can do. Being in the sea felt like I was so close to nature and to my God where I visualized every wave like his fingers. It was our playground. Every wave that I try to get I was listening to whispers of the wave, pop up and boom wipe out til I reached that long ride… in twenty nine years, my life has gone through so many wipe outs I am grateful to still be alive. I realized surfing reminded me to never stop trying and never let fear get in the way but just trust in the wave, let it thrust you towards the long ride we are all after and when you’re in that moment, everything is beautiful you feel… STOKED. At the end of the day, I was tired as hell but with totally awesome people – my friends and the locals who share the same passion, their own stoked stories to share. In a nutshell, what this trip taught me is to face our fears, fight the hopelessness, be patient, focus but learn how to enjoy the ride.
Dude, wanna surf? If you don’t wanna get bored get on a board! This is my first stoke story. Life will never be the same again. To Kara, Mike, TJ, Kuya Jo our friend, Kuya Jo (my instructor) and Kuya Nano and to my new friends, thank you for being part this historical milestone in my life story. And yes I already went back. I am still learning but graduated from the “kiddie pool.” I look forward to more hours on a board under the sun. This is your goofy rider signing off!
-Bryan Christian Caluag
*Ah, nothing like the first stoke. Do you still remember yours? Here at LokalSoul it’s all about sharing the stoke. Hey feel free to share your own stories. Just email us at email@example.com.