The other day I was driving from A to B. I wasn’t in a rush. I wasn’t trying to beat the turning wind or tide. I wasn’t running late for an appointment. I was simply driving from A to B. As I rounded a bend I had to brake as there was a trundling tractor on the road in front. This meant I too had to trundle. I didn’t like it. I needed to get to B. ASAP. The road we were on is a winding, country road, with nowhere to pass. So I had no choice but to trundle along. After a few minutes of seething frustration, I began to look around me. I noticed the buds on the trees, the colours of the fields, the birds wheeling in the sky. I rolled the window down a little and breathed in the air, which wasn’t all tainted by tractor fumes. I relaxed and began to enjoy trundling. I began to wish I had a tractor so I could always trundle.
My mind also began to trundle. It turned to how, today, we are always in a rush. I am willing to bet quite a large amount that there isn’t one person reading this who doesn’t exclaim on a daily basis that something is taking too long, or that they are being made to wait. Whether it’s driving somewhere, or waiting for a website to load, or needing to find out some urgent information, such as what is the difference between a hill and a mountain. It may be all of these, or something different, but cast your mind back – can you honestly say that you have not got riled up recently by something or someone making you wait? This constant expectation of having something immediately, my trundling mind concluded, has had a huge impact on our lives. Including surfing.
As we all know, surfing has grown hugely in popularity. Transport and equipment have helped this along significantly. However, there are few people who can and have dedicated their lives to the glide, which means for the majority, surfing needs to be scheduled into their lives, rather than the other way around. If you only have time for one or two sessions a week/month/year (!?), these times are precious. You want as many waves as possible. Now. You don’t want to share. You certainly don’t want to wait. You have scheduled this time in for your surf. It is your time, so why should you share and wait? Imagine if everyone in the line-up acted this way. Perhaps you don’t have to, but for argument’s sake let’s spell it out. The tension, the aggression, the animosity, shouting, yelling, dropping in, the competitiveness.
There is a quote from a film that has always stuck with me. ‘The first rule of surfing is mellow out.’ Admittedly, the following line was something like, ‘hippy’, but even so, I think we should all adopt this rule, regardless of how often we surf. Imagine if we did. The laughter, the friendships, the joy, the fun. If I begin to feel tension creeping in when I’m out in the water, I remember this rule. I take some deep breaths, I float in the water and listen to the sound of the ocean, I watch the birds swooping in the sky. The tension dissipates. I smile. I relax. I feel more confident. I catch some crackers. I fall. I laugh. This, to me, is what surfing is all about.
You may call me a hippy. You may call me other things. You may think your time is more important than anyone else's, but truthfully, I would much rather enjoy myself than waste my precious time getting all stressed over insignificant things. Sometimes I too need to be reminded of this, so thank you Mr / Mrs Farmer on your trundling tractor, and I am looking forward to the next time we meet.