By Jane Sin
As you paddle out from shore, the waves get bigger and grander. You spot a huge wave coming towards you and as you brace yourself, you can feel nature’s energy in the wind as you catch it.
You cut through the water and glide effortlessly, letting the wave bend around you so you can ride inside. Suspended in that moment of being one with the wave, it’s almost a spiritual feeling of becoming closer to what made you; and you hold on to that moment, hoping it will never end. Then, just as quickly as it came, the wave dies on the shore, and you’re hooked ready to catch the next wave.
For most of us, this sensation of surfing is unrelatable and can only be seen in documentaries, but for senior Lauren Vennes, surfing is a part of her life.
When Vennes was eight years old, her step-father introduced her and her sister to surfing. He had surfed competitively and also wished for his daughters to experience the same thrill.
When Vennes learned to surf at a surfing camp, she instantly fell in love with the waves and was a natural. For her, surfing surpassed all other sports.
“I played gymnastics and soccer when I was younger and the coaches were not very nice. They were always yelling to do something, to perform a certain way. I guess it was necessary for the sport, but it gave me stress. When I surf, there is no coach to tell me what to do. I am my own coach. Surfing is relaxing… and you’re pushing yourself,” Vennes said.
During the summer, Vennes surfs three or four times a week; but now that school and work have started for her, she goes once or twice a month. No matter what time of year it is or what her schedule is like, Vennes always finds time to practice.
“A lot of people think that if they buy a board then they can just surf right off the bat, but they will need a lot of help, guidance, patience, research, and practice. The beginning times will be tough, but once you ride your first wave, you can never forget it,” Vennes said.
Some people debate whether surfing is a real sport, but the competition and dedication needed to master surfing are proof in themselves of its legitimacy.
“Surfing is definitely a real sport. It may be solitary, but it requires so much dedication and physical training. It causes you to push yourself beyond your limits. There are world championship competitions for surfing, and which are some of the most competitive events out there,” Vennes said.
Surfing for Vennes has become a way of life and through it she has created new and joyful experiences.