Regular readers will recall that a few days ago, I was kvetching about my lack of enthusiasm - stoke, if you will - for surfing. A couple of days ago I received an email from a fellow surfer that I wanted to share.
I don't' know why I'm writing this but somehow landed on your blog via the
surfing the surfing thing. Anyway I couldn't help but notice your entry on
losing the feeling.
A couple of years ago I enjoyed my 50th birthday trip to the islands off
northern Sumatra... No not the Mentawais, but north, the Telos, Hinakos and
breaks on Nias.
Throughout the trip a video camera was present and I suffered acute
'performance anxiety'... Worried about every turn, just too much angst for a
holiday. One of my mates said 'Micko, what are you worrying about... Why do
you surf anyway...?' My answer..." Fun.."... "Exactly" was his reply.
It's all about fun, and sometimes, as you get older about loss, too.
It doesn't get easier, but for me just one good turn, or moment in an
otherwise crappy session can make or break a surf... They provide that link
to the days when I could do it all the time.
The joy also comes from just being out there. Here in Victoria, Australia, a
lot of the spots look exactly the same from the water as they did 35 years
ago. If I don't look at my wrinkly old hands I might still be 16 years old..
My non surfing friends wonder why I bother...my answer is that it's a gift.
Once you can do it you are placed in a priviliged group able to witness the
rare and wonderful sights privy only to those comfortable in the area where
the waves break. I think even if I could barely paddle out, I'd still do it,
just to be there.
Sorry for interrupting your day, and sticking my nose in, but it sounded as
though you needed a lift.
...and the next day he sent me a followup:
What I’d meant to say as well was the the reason for the trip was tinged by a promise a mate and I made to each other when we were driving through southern France in 1978... “Micko, when we turn fifty we’ve got to get our picture taken coming out of a barrel”
Twenty six years later...
The words and the image were in my head this morning as I paddled out. The surf was flat, I ate shit on the only two waves that were even ridable, but still, the warm water, the stillness in the air, it was a gift. So to Micko, a heartfelt "thanks, mate".