I submitted the following first draft of my 1st person piece:
‘Crazy Steve’ thought he’d never walk again but now he surfs every day
At 63, you might not expect to be surfing let alone two to three times a day. That is exactly what North Devon surfer, Steve Outram, does even though just a few years ago he thought he might never walk again.
“Surfing is my passion, my driving force. It’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s what I live for and can’t live without. To wake up every morning and to be inspired by the ocean. I’m 63 years old and I’m still surfing.
I learnt to surf when I was nine on holiday with my parents in Cornwall and I just loved being in the sea, the thrill of riding a wave. I was immediately hooked. Fifty years later, every day, I am still searching for the perfect wave. Whether it be here, in Saunton, North Devon, or in warmer climes, I still get that same feeling of excitement when I surf today.
Four years ago, my life took a dramatic turn when I suffered a prolapsed disc in my lower back. I couldn’t understand why this had happened to me. I was fit and healthy and I hadn’t done anything unusual to cause it. Apparently, it’s a small bulge in the disc and can happen to anyone. It effected my right leg and I couldn’t walk. I was in so much pain I thought I’d never walk again.
I was fortunate though and had surgery to remove the disc bulge. It was successful, but it took me two years to get over that. Two years without surfing was like a life sentence to me. I could barely walk let alone stand on a surfboard. What ’s more, the painkillers made me groggy and irritable.
Surfing is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle. My whole life has become subconsciously shaped around surfing. My mood is influenced by surfing. The only way to recover from this was to keep my passion alive. I decided to start by making my own boards. This meant that I could make exactly what I wanted, the right length and thickness. I had my own personalised board made to measure.
Making that first board gave me the drive and determination to get back out there. I can’t describe the thrill of catching my first wave on the board I had designed and built.
My foot is still partially paralysed, but my injury has made me appreciate life. Now I’ll surf sometimes two or three times a day, even during the winter months when I wear a 5mm wetsuit. I start going out in April without a wetsuit when the sea is quite cold, between 8-10 °c. I like the freedom you get when not wearing one, I like to feel the water.
I have collected some funny nicknames from fellow surfers and friends over the years. “The Court Jester”, “Wildman Steve” but in Saunton I am known as ‘Crazy Steve’. I guess that comes from the fact that I am still so passionate about surfing at the age of 63 and that I prefer to surf without a wetsuit.
Surfing’s addictive, it just makes you feel good, it gets rid of all the tension. You paddle out and you forget everything because you’re so centred on what you are doing. You can see the sets of waves breaking towards you and your heart starts racing. The adrenaline beginning to pump through your body. I get out of the water feeling like “yes, I’m still doing something!”
People think that when you’re over fifty you haven’t got a life anymore, that’s not true. When you’re younger you just think I will do something later and put it off and put it off. As you get older you think ‘right I’m going to go and do that.’
I would say that surfing is for anyone because as a beginner you can go out in small waves and use a bigger board. It’s not that expensive and it makes you feel good. Surfing definitely keeps you young. Life’s sweet don’t waste a minute!”
Through the feedback from the group discussion the article needs some attention. The story needs to focus more on the circumstances and consequenses of Steve’s accident. The reader needs to know what happened and how exactly this effected Steve. There could be some anecdotes or recollections of scary moments. I tend to focus on Steve’s passion for surfing which is not really the essence of the story.
The article would also benefit from a stronger ending. Although these were his words it sounds a bit lame/ clichéd. I will contact Steve again and try not to get carried away with his surfing enthusiasm focusing more on the details around the accident.