For many surfers, simply being in the ocean brings joy. But for one female rider, the sea took on more meaning when it became her source of healing after she suffered a miscarriage nine weeks into her first pregnancy.
In the short film “Sliding into the Light,” all shot on 16mm film, surfer Crystal Thornburg-Homcy details how she found new strength in surfing to recover from the emotional aftermath of her miscarriage.
“Growing up in Hawaii, some of my earliest memories were gliding on the waves on the front of my mother’s board,” Thornburg-Homcy narrates in the film. “She taught me a lot about self-respect, but also respect for nature and learning how to handle different challenges, whether on the ocean or land.”
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For Thornburg-Homcy, the challenges in her miscarriage were manyfold.
“It was really hard, emotionally and physically, and almost isolating at times,” Thornburg-Homcy says of the tragedy. “Because it felt really taboo to talk within about in our community and our society, I felt in some way guilty, like it was my fault, almost questioning why did this happen to me and my husband. And it made me wonder am I really ready to do this again.”
But the Patagonia surf ambassador says she found the strength she needed in the sea that she had always grown up in.
“When a heavy set comes through and I’m held down, I know like my mom taught me, it will pass. Surfing has given me the confidence to get back up and try again,” she says.
And eventually, the ocean gave her the power to try again for the family she wanted.
“Even though I was really scared, I realized how important it was to share the sacred space with a child of my own,” she says.
A year later, Thornburg-Homcy gave birth to her first daughter. She decided to produce the film shortly after because she wanted to share the experience of her miscarriage, saying that “I craved that connection with others in the same situation, but in the end, it was the sea that embraced me the most.”
The film, which was shot by David Homcy with music composed by Simon Beins, premiered at the Byron Bay Surf Festival in Australia.
*Main image courtesy of “Sliding Into the Light”