Things I Am Not Good At

By Abi King | Australia & Oceania

Mar 29

There are some things in life that I’m not very good at. Many, actually, but some of them are more obvious than others. Some go unnoticed for a long while, thanks to my strategy of quietly sloping away any time anyone wants to play cards or starts brandishing a microphone and talking about karaoke.

Others take the opportunity of hitting me on the head, propelling saltwater up my nose and making me suffer the indignity of wearing a wetsuit in public to hammer their point home.

I’m talking about surfing, of course, an enterprise I’ve dabbled at over the years with varying degrees of bleary-eyed ineptitude before I took my first lesson last summer in wet and windy Wales.

Watch the video. You can even hear my own husband tell me I’m rubbish.

Still, when it comes to something like surfing, it really is the taking part that counts and one way or another I’ve come to enjoy the sensation of saltwater up the nose and surfboard on the head because of the great times I’ve had with those who manage to stand on the thing.

This last week has been a weird one. Some projects I’m working on have been swimming along nicely, even (dare I go this far?) hanging ten and cruising on in to the shore.

Others, have not. Other projects have gone a step further than the saltwater up the nose thing and have thrown me headfirst into the sand while waggling a shark’s fin on the horizon. And they’ve certainly extended the list of things-that-I’m-not-very-good-at.

Hey ho. Such is life. Live and learn. Etcetera.

So when I looked at my calendar for the week and realised that surfing in Sydney was due a twirl on the blog, the timing seemed perfect.

Don’t expect complex political analysis on today’s post. Just something to make you smile. Either because you’re pleased with the end result or because ill-fitting wetsuits carry inexplicable comedy value all on their own.

But if you’re finding something tough at the moment, if it feels like nothing but a hard slog on the journey to nowhere, remember the secret to success:

Start. Keep improving. Don’t stop.

Happy surfing everyone…

Video not appearing? Watch it directly here.

Just before you go…

I went surfing on Bondi thanks to Destination New South Wales and Let’s Go Surfing. Let’s Go showed me a different technique to before, involving the downward dog yoga pose (arms straight, legs straight, bum in the air) to create the space to bring that first foot forwards. They also reminded me to pick a spot on the horizon and fix on it, which is easy to do on Bondi as there are so many shops, restaurants and kangaroos. Well, the first two at least.

Huge congratulations and hearty applause should also go to the other great bloggers in the video for giving it a go and swallowing their egos enough to go on film in a wetsuit. Do check them out, they are:

Caz Makepeace from Ytravelblog – Caz is one of a four person team, whose youngster member is only six months old. The Makepeace clan travel the world, speak from the heart and nearly always make to manage me laugh. Love ‘em.

Megan from BloggerAtLarge is taking New Zealand by storm, winning international awards, offering lots of practical information and (most importantly to me and clearly a sign of great business acumen) looking after me when I got sick. If that’s not worth a visit, I don’t know what is…

Gary from Everything Everywhere – a man who grew up in a landlocked area and never saw saltwater until he was 21 years old. He’s made up for it since, though, having travelled to more than 110 countries and counting…

Anyway, that’s all for today.

What do you do to keep going when the going gets tough?






About the Author

Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on

Camels & Chocolate March 29, 2012

Oh girl, I feel ya! I’ve always considered myself very athletic–I played college sports and now run marathons–but surfing has always been one thing that does NOT come easily to me. I think you made a great showing =)

    Abi King March 30, 2012

    I suppose the only upside of doing something that you find almost impossible is the absolute thrill when you finally succeed! However tiny that success is! Cheers for the support ;)

Monica March 30, 2012

Well done Abi, you guys look fab! I’ve given surfing a go a couple of times but I’ve now come to the sad conclusion that I am definitely a land person and always will be!

    Abi King April 12, 2012

    Well, I’m not sure about the looking fab part! But I do appreciate the encouragement ;)

Ayngelina April 2, 2012

I’m not very good at surfing either but I’d give it another shot.

NYC Hotel April 3, 2012

I think the only benefit of doing something that you discover almost difficult is the overall excitement when you lastly succeed!

    Abi King April 5, 2012

    You may be right!

Federico April 3, 2012

I surfed Bondi several years ago, wasn’t too bad despite the crowd!

    Abi King April 12, 2012

    One day, I too will be able to use that phrase that casually ;)

Erica April 9, 2012

I’m so horrrrrible at surfing. Shaun is fantastic at it since he is a skateboarder and somehow picks everything up on the first trip. I’m going to keep giving it a go but it is a bit daunting. It is why I love scuba so much. I don’t suck at it!

    Abi King July 20, 2012

    My husband seems to pick everything up on the first attempt as well. Never mind! Victory is so much sweeter when you’ve had to work for it!!

Steve April 9, 2012

Love it! I dream of living somewhere where I can go for a quick surf (or flail about in the surf at least) before work. I wonder if it will ever happen…. Maybe it’s the sort of thing that would just be too much pfaff – sand in your underpants through a full day at the office would be rather irritating after all. Still, a boy can dream!

    Abi King July 20, 2012

    So long as there’s a shower nearby you’d probably be OK! A great dream…

Surfing is one of the hardest things I have ever tried!

    Abi King July 20, 2012

    Yes, it is hard. But at least it doesn’t hurt as much as snowboarding!!

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