20 November 2009

Guest Blogger #5: My Boy Alan M

Who knew that another blogger would end up being my go to shaper (for traditional, non-hull surfboards)? When I want a specific board, I go to him first. Worker by day, shaper/sander/glasser by night, Alan M is multi-talented. He is the maker of the JB PNR (James Brown performance noserider), the longboard I surf most often. Now I want him to work his magic on another board for me. Alas, he is without a workspace for the time being; our next beauty will have to wait. His surf blog and his Salted surfboard blog get attended to when he feels like it—which is hardly ever. He lays claim to having the most powerful "kook magnet" in the lineup. What's the one thing I can say about him? He is the most stoked person I've ever met.

First I'd like to thank Surfsister for asking me to be a guest blogger. I'm honored.

I've been surfing for almost thirty years now. I've had my ups and downs, periods of low session counts, frustration and despair.

I've also had some of the best moments of my life in the water, seen incredible beauty and had magical interactions with sea life.

Not bad for a scrawny kid from New York.

I was lucky enough to have my parents move to San Diego when I was 13. I started boogie boarding soon after, and surfing by the time I was 15.

I remember my first success at standing up and riding in the whitewater. I didn't have anyone teaching me, or even being around me when I was learning. I had a board and desire. I knew nothing of rules, etiquette, or any idea of how surfing worked aside from my boogie boarding experience. I just went, trial and error.

When I finally achieved that first stand up, I can remember saying to myself, "If there is one thing in life I want to be good at, this is it"!

Needless to say, I've been trying to make that a reality ever since.

You know what it's like to have the bug. When you're a grom, you can’t' sleep, can't concentrate, can't sit still with surfing on the brain. It's worse than sex, it's completely destructive to every other activity.

Time tempers that as you become a bit jaded to the conditions. You start chasing bigger, cleaner, faster waves. Paddling out in 1 ft. slop is no longer a given.

Still, it haunts the mind. I've spent countless hours thinking about, watching, forecasting and preparing for waves. It's an integral part of my existence.

I build and ride my own boards. I take better care of myself than I would if I didn't surf. I get things done so I can be free when swells arrive. I do a lot to feed my obsession.

Is it unhealthy and selfish? Maybe. But it doesn’t matter. I can't kick, and I don't want to.

I've had plenty of other obsessions, but none match the power and sustain of surfing. It never goes away. I imagine that even when I'm physically unable to surf anymore, I will still spend too much time staring out to sea, waiting for the horizon to rise up and send some liquid joy my way, even if I only get to mind surf it.

In this ever increasingly crowded world, with its stresses and pressures, the one place I feel free and connected with the planet is in the ocean. Water is the only way to cleanse one's self, and where is it more abundant?

Our Mother Ocean sustains us all, whether we live close or far from it. It is the blood of our planets' organism. Rich in life, indeed, the ocean IS life.

As surfers we are lucky to have discovered a very special way to interact with it, to become one with it.

Even as I've given up much for it, the reward has far outweighed the sacrifice. It transformed my life, I know that.

I'm not a religious person, but I like to think that on the seventh day, God looked at his creation, and didn't rest. He went surfing.


At 11/21/09, 5:20 PM, Blogger Bill said...


At 11/23/09, 5:18 PM, Blogger Jamie Watson said...

"I'm not a religious person, but I like to think that on the seventh day, God looked at his creation, and didn't rest. He went surfing."

I love it.


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