I put miles on the clock driving to beaches, sometimes at leisure, sometimes stressing to squeeze a quick shot of stoke into a boring work day. There's plenty of time spent shooting the breeze with fellow locals - who scored where, who's ripping, who's riding what. The minutes hurriedly shivering in and out of wetsuits or leisurely changing in the sun, depending on the season, mount up as the months pass by.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
a certain ratio
It struck me today how little time i actually spend surfing. By that i mean, sure i spend large parts of my life thinking (obsessing if you ask my wife) about riding different waves or different boards. I spend hours checking online forecasts, webcams, swell models, wind models, tide times, discussion boards, blogs.
Sometimes it's a ten minute walk to the waters edge, sometimes a ten minute paddle out, dodging cold mountains of churning whitewater to finally make it out to the lineup. Then waiting, waiting for the set, waiting for your turn (honestly!) jockeying for position.
But if you think about how much time you spend actually stood up riding waves, it's not very long at all. It's almost a depressingly short length of time, if you think about it too much. There can't be many pastimes where that is the case. I mean the footballer spends ninety minutes playing a game and the swimmer doesn't just spend time floating in the deep end (though there are always ladies of a certain age cluttering up any pool for whom talking & floating seems to qualify as excercise!)
Yet perhaps that is part of the draw, the reason surfing grabs you and i by the very core of our being and wont let go. Forces us to plan, sacrifice, risk career and relationship for just one more fix, one more perfect wave, one more glimpse of the ecstasy.
I'm confident that not one of you reading this would say it wasn't worth it, that the stoke doesn't measure up to the commitment. Yet we all know people who don't get it, who would find it amusing that you might try and surf more than once a day, or even every day. Those for whom the joy of trim holds no attraction, have no interest in finding their limits and pushing them further.
We can stay smug in our secret, knowing we are part of the "us", feel sympathy for "them" for they are missing out.