It’s truth time as my cranium seeks a discharge. My apologies in advance for I feel the need to impart upon you my latest revelation. Surfing is, indeed, all about perspective.
The Ocean is a fickle beast, it does not play well with others, it is a selfish, stubborn and obstinate entity. It cares not about your woes, your life and your stoke. It will provide when it does, it will give when it wants and not before. As surfers we have to be ready, we have to wait.
I long ago figured out that waves came first, that’s just the way it has to be. If there are the right shaped lumps of energy flowing through the ocean in my direction, other things have to stop. A ‘pause’ button goes on life. Those who care understand. But what happens when the unreliable and aforementioned does not deliver? The answer is a melange of intangible and very real emotional shifts in perspective.
At no point in my life is the pull to the ocean more than when I have recovered from a great surf. I have eaten, rested and still have the ‘glow’ of all we hold dear about me like an impermeable aura. Nothing can touch me at that point, until the scale begins to slide, the greatest drug on the planet begins to fade. These next 24 -48 hours are when I feel myself the most vulnerable. Illogical decisions are made, a touch of the insane about my actions. The need and want are palpable.
Once we are over the initial desire of these few days and conditions have not been forthcoming, we again look to the forecast and trust in that the ‘next day’ can not be far off. The practised art of waiting comes into effect. The willing and hoping are dying off as we busy to distract ourselves, we shove those happy thoughts of stoke into necessary exile. Few people enjoy self imposed torture and I am of the many in this respect.
As the days turn to weeks, the storms of winter fail to abide, fellow wave addicts avoid the conversation we know not to have. Nothing good can come of it.
A day blips onto the radar, a diamond in the rough, the charts agree, they all concur. We dare not to hope for the fear of being deceived. Suddenly surfing seems too complicated, it is cold out there, maybe too cold, is it worth getting up in the dark? What am I doing? Maybe I will go and have a look, take my board just in case.
The alarm nudges you conscious, you wake and think about snoozing it. Nope, it is that day. The ‘well greased’ gears slide into action and you hardly think about the steps that take you from bed to beach. It just happens. No excitement, just something you know you need to do. To check.
Approaching the beach and the sun is rising, the wind is puffing lightly from the land, your first glimpse of the blue shows lines, clean lines. Your heart responds in kind, quickening, the fog clears, your perception snaps into focus, the reality of why you exist could not be clearer.
As you pull up in the car park, the drum of wax rubbing fibreglass accompanies the chatter of other souls whose torture has come to an end. I am a part of the ‘we’ again, addicts with the same purpose.
We are really here. We are really back.
Bone dry wetsuits are pulled on, stretching, running down the beach. The water surrounds us, the first duck dive and our perspective is back. The best view, the only feeling, water sprays, the waves fantail in the off-shore, droplets fall in slow motion.
We paddle, we stand, feet hit wax, we are surfing and all is at peace again. For now...