My first time – It finally happened!

my first time attempt

My first time – It finally happened!

Do you remember your first time? I sure remember my first time, because it happened last week. For the first time ever, I got barrelled and made it out! A special moment for every surfer I am sure, but it was a long time coming for me. My journey started 8 years ago in Newcastle, Australia. I only just started surfing but somehow found myself at the perfect position and got my first glimpse inside the tube. I remember it like the day of yesterday, I saw the exit and just as I thought I was going to make it, I got clipped by the lip and wiped out.

Previous attempt and fail

Secret pact

I made a ‘secret pact’ with my mates that I would get drunk with them when I made my first barrel. Over the years they kept asking me if it was time to get drunk yet, or when we went on a trip they said: “this might be the time”. Unfortunately, it never happened together with any of my mates. I’ve been close a couple of times and have been getting into the barrel more consistently over the past year, but never made it. There was even this one time in France a couple of years ago, where I was pretty sure I got barrelled, but I had my eyes closed. I wasn’t sure and there was no one around to confirm it, so I couldn’t claim it just yet.

Me analysing a previous attempt

As the years went on the barrel kept alluding me. Then, two years ago, we decided to go to the Maldives. Everybody, including me, where sure this is where I would get my first barrel. We saved up, asked permission of the wives and set the date for April this year. Then COVID-19 happened and our trip got cancelled. Gutted! With a bit of frustration, I went to my local break, lucky for me I was still allowed to surf, to get rid of some of the frustration. The day before, it was massive, but now it was manageable.

Danger zone

I took my new Torq Chopper and jumped off the cliffs. This almost went horribly wrong as I misjudged the incoming set and forgot to attach my leash. When I was ready to go, I found myself in the danger zone (what I sing every time I get there) and had to take refuge by hugging some rocks. By some miracle, I escaped without hurting myself or damaging my equipment. After that it was a dry hair paddle out.

My first time

It was mid tide going to low and the waves started to get more hollow. I wasn’t thinking about making any barrels, but just focussed on making the drops instead. At a certain point, I took off on a medium sized wave in the head high range, but just as I bottom turned it doubled up and I was behind the section. Instinctively, I stalled, ducked and pumped. Before I knew it I was in the barrel and made it out. A classic backdoor section.

I grabbed my board, cut my hand on my fin, and paddled out. When I got out, a local surfer said he saw my ‘sick little barrel’ and how stoked he was for me. It wasn’t until then that it finally hit me that I just surfed AND made my first barrel. I surfed the rest of the session with a feeling I never had before. Went for a few other barrels, but it stayed with just the one.

my first time attempt
One of my better attempts


Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of vlogs from Nathan Florence and Koa Rothman, big barrel chargers from Hawaii. I can’t help but feel this probably provided me with the last step in the process towards making a barrel for my first time. With help of their videos, I’ve visualised my barrel skills countless times. I am a firm believer of visualisation and feel this gave me the reflexed needed in that particular moment in time. Or maybe I just got lucky? Time will tell, but for now I am one stoked surfer!

Comments (2)

  • Shine

    Congrats with the barrel! Pitty MD was cancelled, will you postpone and go later? Time for a beer now 😉

    March 31, 2020 at 22:45
    • Martijn Ronday

      Hopefully, the MD will get a postponed status soon in stead of cancelled 😉

      March 31, 2020 at 23:30

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