Monday, 9 February 2015

This Surfing Life.

A life in surfing has given me many things.  For a start I know how to ride surfboards on waves.  This may sound fairly rudimentary but years of experience has equipped me with the knowledge that enables me to do something that is pretty unique.  For I have the ability to read the characteristics of a moving wall of water in such a way that I can move a board, pretty much exactly where I want it to go, using nothing but the momentum of the wave as a power source to propel me across its face.  I can look down the wave at the moment of take off, plan my route and know which moves the shape and features will permit, then execute the entire sequence accordingly.  This is quite something, when you stop to think about it.  Working out what a wave is going to do, making the calculations to plot a route, before carrying out my moves accordingly is something that has taken many years of practice.  And without really realising it, these judgements are made in a single moment, and on a good wave several such thought processes will take place in a very short time frame.  Collectively  these individual experiences build up in to something much more significant which makes the act of surfing pretty much second nature. 

This is the essence of surfing in its most straight forward definition.  The pure and natural pursuit of riding waves with a degree of skill is something that I am extremely proud to be able to do and something that I truly love doing. This has been the case for as long as I can remember, but I have realised recently that many aspects of the lifestyle that I have pursued, the ones that I hold as being truly valuable, don't actually require me to partake in riding waves in order to get a strong sense of satisfaction.  The memories I have been afforded are often enough to keep me going through the periods when I don't actually go surfing.  Winter in other words.

Without getting wet, or cold I can watch, or even imagine a wave and know exactly how I would go about riding it, this is something that I have done for years.  Although recently I have come to realise that the experiences that I have collected are so deeply embedded in my psyche, formed from countless sessions over a thirty year period, that surfing isn't ever that far from my thoughts.  Having put as much time and effort in to learning my craft, it isn't wholly suprising that I have the ability to look at a wave and know exactly how I would handle handle it. I have ridden so many waves I wouldn't even know where to begin if I were to count them.  Added to which, there will be an incredibly high number of waves that I have watched other people ride, from the beach, from the line up, as well as on the screen.  Then there are the still images of surfing that I have absorbed from magazines and books, of which there are tens of thousands.  I have enough surfing fuel stored in my memory to keep my surfing imagination stoked for a lifetime!

All in all surfing and the pursuit of riding waves has etched itself into my identity.  It doesn't necessarily define me, not anymore at least in that as the years go on and I take on other interests, I don't want to let my world be taken over by one single thing.  That said, it does continue to provide me with an incredibly strong sense of being.  So while my love of surfing has taken on a different meaning in recent times, whereby it is the culture that I am drawn to, in a historical sense.  Lately I have come to realise that the act of riding waves is still the most important aspect of surfing for me.  In its simplest form, the thrill of riding a wave provides the magic that makes so many of us come back for more, year after year. The world of surfing has evolved in so many waves, but as trends (not to mention people) come and go, it is easy to forget that the feeling that surfing instills within us is the single most important element and at the centre of this entire culture.

I might not ride as many waves these days as I once did, but when I do, I know that I am doing something that is truly special. It fills me with a sense pride, not to mention joy when I realise that the ability to ride boards, long and short is something that is fairly unique. Not many people on this earth can understand exactly what it means to do it and I count myself as being fortunate enough to be one of the few who understands and appreciates the pursuit of riding waves.

A life in surfing has provided me with a rich and diverse set of experiences that I am truly grateful for.  It gives me a lot of joy to recall these, reliving the waves and sessions that stand out the most.


This mornings cycle was a dirty old business. Filthy. The recent rain has made the trails and tracks so muddy. Also the fact that most of the leaves have vacated their Summer residences upon the trees, and are now on the floor adds to the mess. Still, it was a good ride, different but heaps of fun none the less.

There was plenty of wildlife around, loads of squirrels, most of which were running off with horse chestnuts. Jays causing a ruckus in the tree tops, and Herons chilling by the lake. Oh and a crazy assed dog running loose in a field. Not a wild animal, but worthy of a mention none the less, simply because of how nuts it was.

The sea looked amazing, wild and booming, so different to the calm tranquil scene that I have become used too. The spray was being blown in shore by the stiff South Westerly breeze, so the air was damp with ocean, and incredibly salty too.

The dust trails of Summer have gone, but I think I will get used to the muddy conditions, it's a case of having too. It really is a different sort of riding though. Looking at my bike this evening, I can't help but think that it has been given the type of use that it was built for. It wears the mud well.

No photos were taken today, I forgot to take a camera, next time!

*This was written in the Autumn.