22 January 2009


I don't find it difficult to be philosophical after today's session—broken leash and dings be damned!

It was one of those rare days when you obviously see what others don't. This happened to me only once before. The day was much like this day. Same break. Same conditions. On that occasion and today, it seemed as if everyone had been scared away by the spectre of rain.

This morning, I discerned lines coming through. If you see those lines at high tide, you can bet there are waves to be had as the tide begins to drop. This I knew. And I got myself to this point break, with my 90 minute surf window, to wait and watch.

By 8:30, I'd seen all I needed to see. The tide was falling. Just enough. To deliver surfable waves.

There was no one else there.

I was neither excited nor scared. All I wanted was to surf. The fact that the crowds were gone, that everyone was gone, meant nothing. I'm at a point in my life where I don't attempt ascribe meaning to things. They are what they are. My arrival at an empty point break with decent waves was not a matter of good luck, good karma or anything else. It was what it was.

My first wave wasn't my best wave. However, it was the wave where things went to hell for a moment. I went left. Because. I could. This is a break where everyone goes right . . . even when a left rolls through. I went left and watched as the lip got longer and taller. I knew a closeout was in my future. I didn't decide to bail until it was too late. I got slightly worked. I could feel my board tugging violently on the leash. Then I felt the leash go limp. "Fuck me," was probably what I was thinking. When I came up, I pulled the leash toward me. I don't know what I expected to be on the other end. When I got to the end of the leash, there was nothing there. Nothing. Fuck me. All I could do was look toward the rocks.

When I finally got to the board, it sat propped on the rocks—perfectly propped as if it were on a stand in a surf shop. I think I may even have paused to stare at it in wonder before I snatched it out of harm's way. I got out to check the damage. I saw the dings. I didn't see the fin box. Nevertheless, I wasn't leaving. I had this break to myself. I got duct tape and another leash out of the car. Then I paddled back out.

The moment of clarity. There was one. In fact, I think it was my first surfing moment of complete clarity. When I'd surfed this break in solitude years earlier, I was not the surfer I am today. (Yeah, ready for the WCT . . . NOT!) It hadn't all begun to come together. Today I got a glimpse of what surfing is and can be when one is alone with a wave. There is a complete moment of clarity. Time slows. Ambient noise fades away. There is a wave in front of you. And you see every inch of it, every drop of water separating itself from the whole, every bit of light that reflects off of it as it moves. With no one else in the water, I could give all of my attention to the wave.

A right. About head high. I don't know how I did it. One of the side bites was barely hanging on. It was still probably the most significant wave I've ever surfed. I knew exactly what I wanted to do on the wave and had all the time in the world to do it. I stayed on the wave until the shoulder disappeared. I knew, then, that this is what surfing can and should be.

Sometimes you have to pay for clarity.

Yes, it was worth it.


At 1/24/09, 9:26 AM, Blogger Christian said...

Sorry about the board. :( What a great day, though. I'm glad we both scored.

At 1/24/09, 2:12 PM, Blogger Jamie Watson said...

duct tape! you rock!

At 1/26/09, 6:39 AM, Blogger Sharkbait said...

Nice. This is what its all about.


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