I have a friend who has become obsessed with windsurfing in the past year, so this summer she packed a board and sail (or three) and came to stay with us for an epic five weeks on the water. The culmination of her trip was to be a windsurfing ‘marathon’ event in Lancelin, a couple of hours north of Perth. She didn’t know if she was ready for such a major event, if she had the windsurfing skill, the fitness or simply the balls to go as far offshore as the race would force her to. She decided to give it a couple of weeks before signing up.
During her time here she chatted with locals, went on road trips to check out new windsurfing location and continually pushed herself out of her comfort zone. The consensus? She would give the race a go, because… well, why not? She was capable and she was as ready as she could be.
On the day of the race I waited to hear from her. My phone rang and am elated voice was at the other end:
“I did it! I finished it! I came DFL, but I finished it!”
“Dead f****** last!”
She said towards the end she lost sight of the person in front of her and approached the finish line with the support boats in a convoy around her.
She couldn’t care less about her place in the race, she was overjoyed to have taken part and to have made it to the finish.
Finishing last in an event has often been something I’ve been afraid of, but has never happened to me. I’ve often said I wouldn’t mind if I did because “you know, someone has to” but I don’t think I’ve ever truly believed it before. But now, I don’t just believe it, I think I’m even prouder of my friend because of it.
She started. She stood on the beach at the start line, wondering if she’d taken on too much. The starting signal went and she picked up her gear and headed into the water, over the waves and out to the ocean.
She finished. Which means even when she lost sight of the competitor in front of her she kept going. When others dropped out part way through, she kept going.
She finished last. Which means out of all of the people out there she was one of them that found it the hardest. She was one of the people that had to take a leap of faith in her own ability and have a go before she knew she was ready.
Now that she’s done the event once, she seems pretty keen on coming back and having another go in 2018, with a whole extra year’s worth of experience behind her. I hope she does, and whether she has a cracker of a race or one that she finds to be a huge mental and physical challenge, she can rest assured knowing that even by lining up at the start ready to have a go at something that pushes her to her limits is truly admirable.