Surfing Like a Teenager

Sorry, but, with my new computer now scheduled to be replaced (Dell support has given up on me- or it), this has to be something that has to be classified as a blog.  That is, I’ve thought about what I’ll write, then, rather than write it on Microsoft Word (not on my new laptop anyway- now must be rented), I write it on the site. No real read-backs, no real editing, no polishing.

Sure, I’d rather have ‘articles,’ or ‘pieces,’ thought-provoking insight on big issues, and stories from the past, near and far.

And I will, just not tonight. Today everyone who hit the trail (or highway, or side road) looking for rideable waves, at least in the corner of the country I live in, found something. This includes me; early-riser, third person out, catching as many little rights as I could, always watching the beach to see how many others would join me; just hoping to snag a few more before I had to jockey for position, before I had to… Share.

Yes, I’ve been thinking about why people surf, why so many people surf.  I’m happily out here on the frontier, no longer cruising 101 in North San Diego County, not searching for the peak-de-jour (of the hour) in Oceanside, not waiting until the onshores start in Pacific Beach (figuring the dawn patrol surfers are a bit more skilled/more competition than the surf-for-fun late-arrivers); but, whoa; it does seem there are a lot more of them/us lately.

Maybe it’s not odd that we each consider some surfers part of them, some part of us.

And, I do (again, and constantly) have to admit to being stingy with something that doesn’t belong to any of us; and resentful of those who show up, approach the water, stand at the edge for a bit, doing that standard last check. And there are often groups of them.

“Party wave!!!!” Rarely my idea of fun.  Okay, maybe once in a while.

So, why do ‘they’ surf? I ask. Sort of. I asked a guy this morning, a guy from Seattle who slept (poorly) in his car after riding a few on Sunday evening. He was from originally from Georgia, now one of the Seattle surfers, and learned to surf at a surf camp somewhere around 40 years of age. “Surf Camp?” Points off.

“I figured,” he said, “after I’d tried surfing and failed, that if I ever wanted to actually stand up and ride…” Oh, okay; hope there were good waves there in….? “Costa Rica.” Okay. I guess. Guilty with an explanation

Okay,  so I’m still thinking about the ghetto mentality I had in the city, the aggressive way I attack the waves when it starts getting crowded, whether, even, if I secretly enjoy that feeling of competitiveness.

Sure I do. And maybe that’s why I felt a twinge when Stephen Davis told me, this evening, that he and his son, Emmett (Emmett’s birthday surf trip), and Christian Coxen hit some ‘double overhead’ wedges farther out the Straits; and I felt another twinge when Keith Darrock reported some classic late afternoon tubes in Port Townsend.

It’s so childish of me to be jealous, even though I’d been informed of and invited to each of the events, even though I’d surfed enough ‘slow motion Malibu’ waves to need a nap (interrupted by a business-related call) partway home; even though a guy on the beach had said, as I passed him on the way to talk to fellow “Monday’s-the-day” surf searcher Tim Nolan, “You were surfing like a teenager.” Hmmm. Validation.

When I reported the comment to my wife, Trish, via cell phone as I arrived at the Sequim Costco, she said, “Oh. Good for you.” That was sort of sarcastic, though I had been very pleased when the comment was made, pleased enough, along with Tim Nolan vouching for the guy (almost my age) to give the obviously knowledgeable witness a ‘realsurfers’ decal.  “I think he meant not like an old guy.” “Uh huh.” Then I got out of the car. My knees were those of an old guy. Stop, make sure they’re working, proceed. Loosen up.

So, hopefully we (you, me, them) all get most of what we surf for out of each session. Still, if you see me, count me as one of ‘them.’ At least in the water.

UPDATE- I think, I write; I think about what I wrote; I edit. The above has been edited for punctuation, flow, stuff like that. What hit me somewhere overnight is just how full of crap I am. If I appreciated the validation; someone saying that I surfed well… well; obviously I don’t surf just for the benefits to my own soul. No, I want to perform. “Perform.”

There’s something in my to-the-bone desire to do well, and, it must be added, to appear to do well, that contradicts all of my blathering about who should be paddling out. Here’s something: Big Dave, a few years younger than me, was also out yesterday. Same board as mine, though he rides his as a regular prone board. On one wave, me juking up and down into the shorebreak, pulling a big kickout-to-paddle position, I turned to see Dave had been riding behind me. Behind! He was knee-boarding, so close to the curl.

Still, I was so proud, unlike my session on Easter Sunday, skittering over big rocks, that I had been in the stand up position on every ride. Yeah, probably a little out in front on most.  “Sorry, Dave.” “It’s fine; plenty of room.” We both had to laugh at the implications of that. “I’ll try harder next time.”

Surfing like a teenager, thinking like a child. May you get self-satisfaction from every session. Performance? That’s up to you. If I see you, I’ll give an assessment; maybe on a scale from 19 to 90 (years, 19 being the apex for most of us, slightly different scale for those who started late). Extra points for exuberance.

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