Surfing: only a surfer knows the feeling

Are you fast approaching middle age? Have you dreamed of learning to surf? David Flanagan has a wonderful story of hope and freedom for you in his latest book, "Board."

Anyone can learn how to stand on a surfboard and ride a wave.

Surfing has nothing to do with age, gender, or origin. It is something that you sense and experience. Like someone once said, "Only a surfer knows the feeling."

However, when you start to feel the weight of time, the chances of becoming the surfer you dreamed of will be few.

And then, there's the couch, the tasty food, and that fantastic glass of wine that keeps us in the warmth and comfort of our home.

Scottish writer-journalist David Flanagan had other plans for his middle age. He had always lived close to the ocean on his home island of Orkney, an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland.

He knew for decades that he had one of the most amazing surf breaks in the world - Thurso East, a perfect right-hand reef break.

So, Flanagan decided he would learn how to surf. He resumed his skateboarding rides after a 30-year gap and embarked on the unforgettable experience of walking on water.

"I used to think it was just a cliché to talk about surfing being like a journey, but it undoubtedly is. In my case, I wanted a new identity, along with knowledge, confidence, and a degree of power over nature and fate," David Flanagan tells in the book's epilogue.

"Instead, I had the inner working of my mind completely dismantled and then rebuilt by the sea. My ego was shattered. Physically, I was pushed harder than I'd ever been before."

We are not surfers. We become surfers. In "Board," Flanagan tells us precisely how it feels to become part of the wave-riding tribe.

With fear, happiness, frustration, redemption, friendship, instinct, and self-discovery as some of the core ingredients.

Board: the surfing life story of David Flanagan

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