. . . and I think to myself, what a wonderful world!
We stand high above the beach watching people swim.
An instructor approaches us.
"Are you girls here for the lesson?" she asks.
"Take a wetsuit and a surfboard and we will meet you down there. Have fun!"
We both grab a wetsuit and a bright yellow surfboard, looking for the one in the best condition.
Armed with our gear we head down to the beach. The sand under our feet is burning from the January sun. We run as fast as we clumsily can with all the equipment, trying to escape the heat, till we reach our group. Dropping our boards next to the others, we keep on running to the water to cool our burnt feet.
As we approach the line left on the sand by the tide, we notice the blue bottles sprinkled on the golden grains of sand, shining brightly under the light. The small blue organisms beam under the sun's rays, distracting me from everything around us. I picture in my head what the beach would look like from above, the lovely blue stripes like splashes of paint in a Jackson Pollock artwork, contrasting against the glistening sand. We must watch our steps to avoid the excruciating sting that would come upon us if we stepped on the thin and long blue tentacles coming from their body.
"I wonder how such beautiful creatures could be so deadly. I really hope I don't get stung," I say.
"They are really pretty but not nearly as beautiful as this beach," replies my friend.
I look up to see the sea that has left an ombre effect on the sand, turning its golden
colour from lighter to darker on its approach to the water’s edge. The beach must have stretched on for ages because I cannot see the end. The waves leave a frothed line across the sand, like whipped cream on a birthday cake. The ocean is spectacular, its colours ranging from a dark green to magically clear crystal blue.
The class will start soon; we need to get ready.
We reluctantly take our feet out of the cooling water and find a lovely spot under the shade to put our stuff down.
I grab my wet suit.
"How do we put this on?" I say putting my leg through.
After a whole lot of wiggling, with my friend laughing at my poor efforts, I am finally ready.
The trees branching over me provide shade, as I stare out on the horizon watching the sun reflect on the ocean. I can't wait to get in.
The boards are positioned in the shape of a half-moon around the sunburnt instructor. I lay down on my board, filled with anticipation. We practise the sequence of the five positions we need to master to stand up on a wave. My suit is getting hot. Enough with the practice, I am dying to get in the water and try the real thing. Thoughts of rushing in the water, being pushed by a wave and then thrown off again and again, run through my mind.
Finally, the instructor tells us that it is time to get wet!
I walk up to the shore, the golden granules swirling around at my feet as if they were fighting the ocean. The smell of salt fills my nose as my body enters the cool water. I step into the blue waves further, with my bright yellow surf board dragging behind me, bopping up and down over the waves.
I swing my board around creating a ripple. As soon as I jump on the board a giant wave comes up from behind and knocks me off, making me tumble over. I swallow a large gulp of salty water and my eyes sting from the salt and sand, yet I cannot wait to try again. I decide to take it more carefully this time and I ask my friend to hold the board as I try climbing onto it.
"Thanks," I say.
I turn around to see another giant wave coming for me. I get into the position that we have been practicing. It turns out I am not the only one thinking this is the perfect moment. Just when I think I am about to catch my first wave, a lady comes from behind and hits my board with hers.
"Aaahhhhhhhhh!" I scream as the water comes crashing over me again, but I am determined to make it!
"Do you need some help?" asks the instructor.
"Yes please," I say. He guides me on how to get on and keep my balance. "Are you ready? Here comes a beautiful wave."
"Three time is a charm, right?" I reply with a smile.
I get into position just as he showed me. 1. Lay down and start paddling. The wave is fast approaching. 2. Go into a plank position except with your knees down 3. Push your knees through your arms 4. Put your left foot forward on the board 5. Bring your back foot behind your right and point your shoulders in the direction of the beach.
That's it, I'm up! I'm surfing!! Pure joy fills me as I glide on the water.
The afternoon flies by as I catch many more waves. I'm hooked. I just love it! By now the sun is starting to cast pinks and purples on the horizon. Time for my last of the day. I sit on my board, admiring the beauty of the ocean, counting the waves. Four small ones and then a big one.
I don't want to leave. Just as I am about to lay down to catch my last wave, I see something out of the corner of my eye: a dolphin is surfing a wave. There is a whole pod of them having fun in amongst the surfers.
"LOOK! LOOK!" yells my friend pointing at the dolphins. "Can you see them? It's so cool, isn't it?"
"It's wonderful," I shout back.
As I watch the dolphins swim away, the song of Louis Armstrong pops into my head:
". . .and I think to myself what a wonderful world."
It is really little moments like this that make this world great.
By Emilie Gordon