Shirin Gerami

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Riding Waves

I’ve recently had the chance to dip my toes in the sea and actually test out rough open water swimming. Everyone’s given me a lot of hints and pointers on the little tricks I should be aware of, including how to bodysurf on the waves when I’m aiming to get out of the water.

Trust me, easier said than done! The instructions are: when you see a wave forming behind you, start swimming fast. When you’re on the wave, hook your hands on the wave and let it carry you to the shore… I see the others do it and it seems pretty straightforward. But when I have a go, there seem to be two case scenarios at play: either the wave just brushes past me completely ignoring all my frantic efforts to get a ride. It casually makes its way to the shore with me still attempting to swim after it completely out of breath. Or it decides to have a little fun, making me turn, twist and tumble in the water, feeding me as much salt water as humanly possible, leaving me gasping for air, goggles astray and completely disorientated. And then it casually makes its way to the shore without me.

Today, the waves were crisp, big and frequent. On my way back, I decided to give up on the fantasy of catching waves and swim my own way back to shore. Suddenly, there was a rumble, a wave made its way under me – it just connected with me. It swept me up, carried me at top speed towards the shore, and dropped me face first into a pool of foam and sand. In one word: exhilarating! All I could do was whoop with glee and laughter – a laugh so sincerely filled with love and joy for my surroundings. I managed to catch a wave – or rather, a wave managed to catch me! It is such an amazing feeling!

It reminded me of a Japanese film. If my memory serves right it said: life is like a wave. What ever resists it ends up in a wreck. What ever rides with it is taken towards beautiful shores in unrestrained joy.

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