i’m pretty terrified of the ocean.
currents, rip tides, reefs, undertows, rocks, dark water…waves any bigger than my hand. it’s this untamable beast that doesn’t obey anything other than itself. it’s scary.
but with two whole days at my most generous friend marj’s family beach house in still bay, with its garage stocked with surfboards and wetsuits, the surfing attempt was for the taking, despite the raging ocean i fear.
(and the last thing i want to be is one of those people who goes on and on about surf, turns up “the drums” and is all hang ten…and never touches a wave. this is retarded.)
so with my one day of surfing experience (last year in durban. i got tossed.), and despite a tiny scare the day before on a boogie board, i waded in.
at my knees, i could already feel the tide’s pull. and i literally stood there for 10, 15 minutes, just looking at the waves.
yes, these tiny waves. these weren’t titans.
but still, ocean. scary.
yet with the words, “forget this” almost at my lips, i thought about who i want to be. and how much it sucks that we so often let things conquer our ability to try.
maybe people will die laughing on the beach.
maybe i’ll look beyond idiotic.
maybe the sight of it would lose me a cute date who would buy me steak (that would suck.)
but who gives a shit if i’m forever the surfer with training wheels.
you have to start somewhere. you have to try.
so i walked into the waves and after a few passed by, i turned around, furiously started paddling, balanced both my hands…and got up.
and stayed up.
for five really great, conquering seconds on my very first wave.
i did a little fist pump, “ocean! you fury! you can’t contain me!” and fell off.
and now, a week later, we are in jeffreys bay. it is the eve of the billabong surfer pro, the fourth stop on the world tour to decide the 2010 ASP surfing world champion.
so practically every dude that knows his way around a wave is here.
and nope, i couldn’t pick any of them out of a grocery store line-up besides slater. i’m not even going to pretend that i know.
but as tim and i sat on the beach while the sun stole away its light, we watched them practicing and started figuring out who is who.
you have to start somewhere. might as well be while they’re all in one place.