To learn something indelibly at a particular stage of life, such as how to surf.
We all as surfers have many moments we remember as good, but there is that one, THE one that is imprinted into the soft tissue and will be passed on to many others alike. You know, BBQ night when all are sharing memories and tales that become more fabricated as the beers flow, but the imprinted one with meaning, that's the one that put us where we are now.
Billabong said “Only a surfer knows the feeling”, well they were wrong because all my dearest and nearest know exactly what it’s like to be in a stand-up barrel, what it’s like to pull that first 360 air and how it feels to be held under by that monster set. They have lived these moments with me many times over (especially on a Friday night).
Then you watch the video footage your mate got and you would swear it was a lot bigger, you were going a lot faster and that turn had so much more power in it, but still, there was a wave that day that was the best you ever had. Sometimes the grey matter and first-person perspective wins over modern digital recording gumph.
It was a freezing cold day I was 11 years old and my dad and I were at our local break fully neoprened up, one board between the 2 of us but of course I was on it for the whole session. My father had as much joy pushing me into those waves as I did riding them. “PADDLE”, my arms would rotate like a windmill in a gale, the heart rate would rise and then usually I would pearl the nose, fly over the top, turn look at my dad and jump back on. I was getting better and on this one particular day that was no different to any other, the day I had my IMPRINT. It was a left, about 3 foot, nice and clean and I did a cut back that I can only say will NEVER be rivalled.
The turn was hard, fast and was straight back into the soup with a nice rebound straight back to the face of this, the best wave ever ridden, LIKE EVER. The array of people for years after that heard this story and the never-ending cutbacks done after THE ONE is uncountable on so many levels. This set the bar, there was so much more, there were so many stories ready to be made and told. Of all the stories that were made, this one is the first that comes to mind, and one thing that changes over time is “was it the ride or the ecstatic look and high pitched cheer from my dad” that makes it stick.
I think what I am trying to say is everyone has a special moment and that is as special as it gets, share them and feel that person's vibe, make the world a happy, surfy place. If you’re the rider or the spectator enjoy what life gives you and what you get, you share. “Not only a surfer knows the feeling”.