Slotted into a Ryanair window seat like a piece of tetris, burnt back against cheap leather, sunburnt thighs chaffing against my denim jeans, particles of skin peeling off my nose and a cracked collarbone tucked awkwardly beneath my skin. Salt and sand fall from everywhere as I squirm and toss to get comfortable. All are souvenirs of my little adventures over the past week. I am heading home, another item ticked off the bucket list, a surfing holiday to Fuerteventura – one of many more to come.
A longboard accident on Day one meant a bumped head, grazed palms and shoulder, a bruised elbow and hip and a popped collarbone joint, which dealt a devastating blow to my plans to improve my surfing. A slap in the face surely but not an end to the holiday and the good times. Once the sport was wrestled from me (when no amount of painkillers would allow me to push my body up on the board) I turned to the people to save my holiday.
Phil in his Speedos, pushing Lisa into the pool, Gill overcoming a lifetime of fears and diving into all these new experiences, drunken adventures, random dancing to reggae music, wipe outs, catching a beauty of a wave, shredding, climbing a volcano, the nights three course feasts, the crowds in the line-up like nothing you would see in the waters of Ireland or Scotland, lending a certain appreciation and pride to those of us who embrace cold water surfing and experience the beautiful loneliness of sitting on your board in the cool waters of the Atlantic and waiting for a wave which you will not have to compete for.
A constant soundtrack pulses to the lifestyle, head out the window of a speeding van, the salty beach hair, the piggy backs, the dance, the 36p cans of beer and bags of ready salted Lays, coca cola with ice, sangria, tapas, outdoor bars, suncream, plasters, the hot Spanish instructor that couldn’t speak a word of English, sitting on the steps of an old stone windmill and watching the sun set, climbing on the surf roof rack on top of a van. The excitement of not really knowing anyone and the joy of getting to know them; the Scottish, the Irish, the German, the Aussie, and the Saudi Arabian, comparing passports, then passport visas, then stamps. No insurance, no fear, off-roading, wetsuits hanging on a line, board wax, longboarding the roads, scabs, cuts and bruises.
With their help I salvaged what could of been a ruined holiday. It is all about outlook it seems. It helps when you are looking at life through the green tinted aviators perched on your nose. Life is good. No man, life is great.