Thursday, August 4, 2016


*This post was originally sent out with no title or explanation. (Thank you, Indonesian internet.) I thought you might want to know why you got a very small video of me surfing, mostly on sand, in your inbox. 

Two years ago, I came to Bali and (stupidly) tried to learn to surf with someone who didn't know how. It was disastrous and dangerous and traumatic, and came perilously close to ending very badly.

I swore I would never try to surf again. But the more time that passed, the more I realized this was a fear I needed to face. So I joined my incredible friend (and kickass surfer) Tim at the same beach where I'd tried the first time. 

Tim has surfed waves around the world. For him, this is baby stuff. But he never once gave that impression. He was was positive and compassionate and safe. His goal, he said, was to get some of my confidence back. He taught me - while still on solid ground! - how to lie, kneel and stand on the board. He made space when I started panicking, and gently but encouragingly got me back out there. He also GoProed the whole thing, but got so excited when I managed to kneel, sort of, in the water, that he forgot to film. 

Still, as you can see from the video, I was pretty damn elated to have done it. I didn't stand up. I don't care. It was the fear I wanted to stand up to, first.

And when this no-bullshit, no-mushy-gushy, say-it-like-you-mean-it French dude surprised me with this video the day I left Bali, I barely held it together. 

I will try to surf again, and I know I'll get up. For now, I'm sitting here in the Denpasar Airport, after saying goodbye to some of the most incredible people I've ever met, barely holding back tears. This is the happiest kind of sad you can be.

Natsurf from Natalie Karneef on Vimeo.