As an 11-year-old swimming the lonely waters between Robben Island and the mainland, I came to know and love the transcendent power of the ocean — its ability to save, soothe and heal. And so, 17 years later, in a bit of an emotional and mental mess, I knew I needed surfing. I wasn’t expecting it to be the panacea, the antidote, the cure-all. But what I did hope it might become is a tool I could use, frequently, to soften life’s blows and make it easier to accept and navigate its uncertainties. In Indonesia, I was told that Muizenberg is considered by many surfers to be the best place in the world to learn how to surf. So what was I doing here, many thousands of rands, time zones and kilometres later when I could be doing this at home? I suppose being far away appealed to me. I’d lived near the sea for most of my life but had never rode its waves save for just a handful of lessons. I’d loved those lessons — but in spite of my enjoyment, they were scattershot and therefore ineffectua...

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