No doubt, the internet has taken over the World.
It has changed everything we do – shopping, dating, watching movies – and introduced things we didn’t used to be able to do – find instant answers, live traffic updates, order anything to be delivered at any time.
But surely there were some things which were even beyond the magical powers of the worldwide web? Surely some things would forever remain in the physical world, only to be experienced in touchable three dimensions.
But no, it seems that isn’t the case. Today, in this technologically wonderful world, you can surf the internet. Literally.
In this digital age, there are more than 100 surfing lessons to be studied at online university Udemy, any number of video tutorials to perfect your curve or break, and hundreds of sites which will hook you up with a professional surfing instructor probably called Brett or Shane or Keanu.
But what about those of us looking to just get started?
Recently. I was lying on my sunbed, reaching for a cold drink, browsing the internet, when I discovered Every Body Can Surf.
It is an online surfing school, which largely caters for plus-size people. Perfect.
Like me, you may have thought being, what shall we say - a little overly buoyant - may have excluded you from the joys of surfing.
After all, all those movies and TV shows are dominated by ripped and shredded, bronzed and sun-kissed, beach-ready body types. You know the sort, tousled hair, low-hung board shorts revealing a firm six-pack or a lycra-tight swimsuit displaying acres of toned thigh and glutes you can bounce dimes off.
But Every Body Can Surf, is here to dissuade you of that false notion.
Founded by South African, Andrew Goodman his online business is the only inclusive coaching business specializing in plus-size surfing.
The business was founded earlier this year and is currently raising capital on KickStarter. It pledges to help you ‘feel confident in surfing, no matter your body type or size.’ and will achieve this remarkable transformation in just 8 weeks from the safe, calm and dry conditions of your living room.
“Our program will take you from ‘I don’t think my body can do this’ to “Wow! What else can my body achieve?’ says Andrew.
Following a step-by-step program of lessons that charts your progress, they will gently hold your virtual hand as you build the skills and confidence to take to the water.
The digital surf course is structured in seven key modules, each one using video lessons to focus on the practical aspects of learning the techniques of surfing, the theoretical knowledge, but also giving you the all-important positive mindset to succeed at surfing.
Participants will also join weekly live online sessions with Andrew and his co-founder Eleanora and, as the weeks progress, you will move from understanding the big picture, the required understanding of the waves and water, to identifying the right equipment, locations and conditions, before mastering your equipment on dry land and finally getting your feet wet and riding your first waves.
The final session is dedicated to troubleshooting problems and overcoming disappointments which are inevitably part of the whole surfing experience.
“Surfing is for everyone” says Andrew.
But what is success in Every Body Can Surf?
“Success isn’t just standing on your board” laughs Andrew.
“Success is you feeling confident and supported enough to go out there and try surfing. For us, success is going from ‘No way can I do this’ to giving it a go.
“Surfing isn’t just for athletes, surfing is riding waves in whatever way you like. You can stand up or not, ride waves sitting-down, on one knee, or flat on your stomach if that feels right for you.
“There is no right or wrong way as long as you have fun!” he gleefully explains.
So, if you are a little larger than most, but interested in learning to surf this might be the answer. If you are still skeptical about whether surfing is a plus size sport, just Youtube search Jimbo Pellegrine, a 350lb behemoth who shreds and cuts waves better than people a third his size.
There will be challenges along the way, some more mundane than you might imagine.
Just finding a plus-size wetsuit can be tough, although new brands like Truli Wet Suits are catering for women up to size 24 and Dive And Sail and Layatone offer wet suits up to 6X for budding surfers well over 6 foot tall.
And finding a surfboard which will give you the buoyancy you need is important too. Longer boards will be where you will begin. In fact, many plus-size surfers look to Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards to begin as they are packed with flotation and buoyancy and much easier to catch smaller waves on.
Every Body Can Surf is currently signing up participants form its 2022 season classes, so if this is something you are interested in doing, surf the web and you could be catching a wave sooner than you think.