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When the Services go Surfing

Anyone who's seen Chris would agree with him that he's an unlikely surfer. 6'3", 110kg's and with an incredibly poor sense of balance, the combination would suggest that surf boards aren't designed for overweight *ahem* robustly built fellas.

And then to suggest surfing in the middle of winter? Yea...unlikely...!

But still, this is what the plucky team of Veterans of Combined Forces Surfing Association exactly did.

"Team Collins" woke up at the ungainly hour of 5:30am to head down to Waihi to meet up with the other intrepid veterans and whanau for a muster at 9.30am sharp.

Introductions quickly followed by being thrust thumb-sized wetsuits and encouragement to hurry up, to which we all complied. At least one of them must have been a sergeant major in their time....the command calling came so natural, haha!

Donned and relieved that we were equipped for the balmy 6 degree Celsius air temp saw us linking arms - US Navy SEAL style - and striding bolding into the water. Making a huge circle and then spinning around so that we all got opportunity to get wet helped acclimatize. Even if some of us fellas were talking rather high-pitched for a while!

My son and so entitled wee-man had so far petrified of getting in the ocean. Being 4 years old, knowing where sharks live and that sharks eat humans, made the fear sort of understandable. This approach to water entry though he took in his stride! I was amazed!

Wet, warm and with a briefing of how to surf, we grabbed boards and went to conquer. We had about 1.5 hours of time until high-tide and so made the most of it! As you can imagine, all of us newbies did 'OK'. I struck out with 2 knocks to the head with the board (note to self, if you're going to fall, do it in epic style as it seems to mean you avoid the board...!) but managed to get a few runs in on one knee. The idea of 'popping up' I've still to work on, but was getting there!

The kids did far more impressively. Clearly the physics of lower centers of gravity help, not that I'm jealous... nope not at all. *grumble*

Eventually, the cold of the ocean (which incidentally wasn't actually that cold - apparently the water temperature lags behind seasons, so will actually be colder in December than now) took its toll. I got out, smashed the milo and chili-con-carne and chatted with the other men and ladies about how awesome it is to do something new.

While it may be seen that VCFSA and TKM are in competition with each other, the actual reality is that we both have very similar core philosophies. Getting out and doing something enables conversation and korero to take place. I'm please to recommend that if getting sweaty and hugging it out on martial arts mats isnt your thing, you should really try these guys instead. Or, do both, we wont tell!

For more details, email Bobby here:

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