September 5, 2016

Longboarding & what I Learned once I Stopped being Afraid to Fall.


The road is long, empty and smooth.

My heart races as I inspect the incline and set myself up for take off.

Kick push, kick push and coast…the familiar Lupe Fiasco song echoes gently in my subconscious. I am home. Both feet off the ground, I get low on my board as I approach the hill taking one last push to get any extra momentum I can muster. This feeling is nothing short of pure exhilaration as I carve—my speed increasing steadily—down the hillside.

The breeze is gentle and cool, sending my curly hair wild about my face as the sun beats down on me warmly, like a hug, radiating on my nose and shoulders as I crest out at the bottom. The moment when my momentum peaks at the bottom of the hill, and I know I’ve survived another descent unscathed, is the closest thing to freedom that I know—short of skydiving.

When I’m flying, surfing and soaring on my board I am propelled into the most basic of instincts: don’t fall off.

To stay steady, each movement, push and lean is crucial to my stability. Presence of mind is forced upon me—a natural dreamer—who easily slips into the drifting altocumulus of my imagination. Yet, somehow, I am the most liberated in these moments of unforced concentration. I am present.

I throw my hands up in the air and gently sway my hips, initiating a smooth “s” curve that I choreograph to coincide with the music blasting through my headphones. I am free.

This freedom did not come naturally. I learned to long board at the ripe age of 30. Now 33, I have spent much time on my hands and knees to revel gloriously in the freedom that comes from accomplishing a task––the hard way.

Now, I see this lesson. This law of nature is reflected like a looking glass in everything I do.

Something that I once wanted (and thought was impossible) now comes as naturally as breathing. There was most certainly a beginning––and it was shaky as hell. It was the necessary prelude to my newfound “heaven on earth.” It was bathed in uncertainty, trepidation and just plain tripping.

The key was, I wanted this more than I was afraid to fall, because somewhere I knew that falling was a necessary part of learning. What it taught me was that falling is by no means failing, and that by falling, we can learn to fly.


Author: Elyse Sinclair

Image: Flickr/Alexis Nyal

Apprentice Editor: Heather Hart/Editor: Travis May



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Elyse Sinclair