This Is Where I Belong, In The Waves

Part 1: The First Wave

“The joy of surfing is so many things combined, from the physical exertion of it, to the challenge of it, to the mental side of the sport”

-Kelly Slater

I grew up in a small town in New Jersey on the beach. So, you can guess, I was gonna grow up to be “Daddy’s little surfer girl”. If you don’t know what I mean, then I will put it in a simpler way, I was going to be a surfer and there was no way of stopping it!

Every weekend was spent with my father watching surfing documentaries.

“The Endless Summer, Step Into Liquid…” my dad could list a whole bunch.


We mostly watched The Endless Summer. I loved it! Seeing the surfers ride these massive waves that towered over them. I was amazed by their courage and hypnotized as a child by how easy everyone made surfing look. The smooth curves of the board and the quick white wash of the wave. It was during those moments, when the white wash surrounded you, that you knew you had just had a great ride.

I started surfing at age three. I was maybe about two feet tall. I would climb onto my dad’s board that was 6 times my size and want to ride the mystifying waves of the great ocean. The first time I could actually surf was in Hawaii, the Big Island. A crowd had gathered on the beach to watch me and my little brother ride the tiny ripples of ocean that seemed like waves to me at the time.

“Yay!!!!” the crowd would yell and clap each time my brother and I reached the beach. My brother and I would have shining eyes and bright smiles as we rode up onto the sand.

“I was super excited, extremely proud and at the same time trying to take video and pictures while ‘enjoying’ the moment. It was great to see other tourists taking pictures of them as well and asking me ‘Are those your kids?’ and me proudly responding ‘Yes they are!!”

-Patricia Demas-Anderson (My mom)

This is what I like to call, “The first of many great waves”. It is the first wave you can remember that gives you the thrill of success, the relief that you made it through and the moment where you jump off your board into the ocean yelling “Yippeeee!!!”


Part 2: The Emotion and Experience

“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun”

-Phil Edwards

With challenge comes fear, joy, courage and many more emotions that lead you to what you do on that wave that makes you think.

“What in the world was I thinking!” but, the greatest part is that there is no turning back because you feel the tipping of the board, you hear the rush of air in your ears, you smell and taste the salty ocean water being washed into your face and you see the exhilaration of speed underneath you and the feeling that comes after makes you forget the doubts and think of what is the next challenge you will take on.

That is what I feel on every wave along with every other surfer out in the water. It’s the ones who throw on a wet suit in the middle of February and paddle in the numbing water until their arms feel like noodles. Those are the surfers who are there to feel the emotion and enjoy the experience.

-Frosty Hesson surfing mavericks

“Winter surfing is when you stop trying to find yourself, and start creating yourself.  The water is cold, dark, and heavy.  The winter swell carries a powerful punch.  The crowd is always thin.  Paddling in to a great winter swell forces you to confront your fears, while in search of your joys, the reward being dignity.  I did this! There is something incredibly powerful, giving in to something bigger than yourself, Mother Nature, and coming closer to what makes you truly happy, as a result.  Surfing might hold the key to happiness.”

-Jeffrey Anderson (My dad)

“How I feel when I’m surfing has changed dramatically over the last few decades. When I was a young man, surfing was straight up fun. It was fun to go surfing with friends in Bay Head, at Jenks and in Mantoloking, it was fun to travel to exotic places like Central America and the South Pacific and it was fun just lounging around with friends on a summer evening talking about how much fun we had had surfing earlier that day.”

-Ty Torres

Each surfer feels a little bit different with each day but, my dad always likes to say,

“One good wave out of ten is much better than a bad day at work!”

No matter what, surfing brings a lot of emotion to most. And even though each way we feel might be a tiny bit different because that comes with each wave, we still all know that surfing is great. It is a trait that was born into our blood that we will never be able to remove, just to enjoy.


Part 3: The Challenge

“If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave”

-Frosty Hesson

With surfing comes troubles and challenges. We all have our falls and wipeouts but, there are other troubles that are on a surfers mind when he/she is out on the water. For one thing, I am constantly thinking about speed. If I had to choose one of the many challenges that comes with surfing, it would be speed.

Speed is very important when it comes to surfing. You need speed to slice through incoming waves to get past the break line. You need speed to pop up on your board so you can steer around other surfers and, actually surf! You can’t surf without being able to pop up and stand with speed underneath your feet. So many times I have had to ride to the beach on my belly of my board because I couldn’t pop up fast up enough.

“The hardest thing about surfing is learning to go, to push yourself over the ledge and just have at it.”

-Ty Torres

Of course other surfers have their own opinions of what is a challenge when it comes to surfing. I agree with many other surfers, there have been so many times where I panicked because I am about to send myself onto this huge wave but, you have to just let go. In order to learn how to surf, there are going to be those moments when you don’t want to ride the next level wave but, it is great if you do that because then, you can learn, and that is a challenge within itself.

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”

-Bodhi / Patrick Swayze

Fear is another huge challenge when you are trying to surf. There is the fear that you might wipeout. There is the fear that you might fail when you try to ride the next wave. And, depending on where you surf, there is the fear, not always present but always lurking, that you could get ripped to shreds by the huge jaws of sharks. When I am surfing I don’t think about these fears. If anything, I think about those fears when I am on the shore. As soon as I run and dive straight into the water, my mind gets cleared.

The last time I went surfing, I was sitting on the middle of my board, dipping my hands into the freezing ocean water. I turned to my dad, and said,

“This is where I belong, in the waves.”


“Surfing, alone among sports, generates laughter at its very suggestion, and this is because it turns not a skill into an art, but an inexplicable and useless urge into a vital way of life”

-Matt Warshaw

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