Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Plus Salt

My sessions with Jules last Friday was a good one. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the surfers came out of the freaking woodwork to flood my little spot. (I know, now it's mine?) Where were these people when it was 30° out? That's what I want to know.

Before I even left my house, I received a crazy voicemail from Jules. (Crazy = normal.) She'd planned to call me with the conditions that morning, and it turned out that I'd slept in and just missed her. So with my eyes still shut, I groped my phone until I started the playback of her message. I laid there in bed listening to her totally psyched voice saying, "Is this LSL? Is this the famous, rock-star surfer, LSL?!!" and a smile crept across my sleepy face.

My surf-drive music that morning included Judas Priests' You've Got Another Thing Coming. One of my all-time favorite songs, and one from my very first surf-drive days. I'm afraid the rest of the playlist is top secret.

After my great sesh two days prior, it was impossible to keep my expectations of myself in check. In retrospect, I guess I was thinking that I'd finally had my breakthrough so I would be pretty much on the fast track to hanging ten. Or at least five? I had some great rides on Friday, and from the first ride on I was able to do my move and pop up on the board, but I quickly figured out that hanging ten is still a ways away. As I mentally processed throughout the day, I decided that I think surfing might be a long and hard-earned series of little breakthroughs instead of one big one. It sounds silly to say that came as a surprise, but it kind of did. So that means my big progress on Wednesday wasn't the end of the struggle but another beginning. Fair enough.

I still fought a little against letting go (physically and psychologically) of my grip on the board at times. I did great for many of the rides, but I started doing this funky thing where I held on with one hand (that produced strange results), and then as I got more and more tired, I had a harder time letting go of the rails. But honestly, even I could tell that my riding was night and day from two lessons prior, and every lesson before that.

The waves started small that day and then got kind of crazy and unpredictable. The wind came up about half-way through and it all turned pretty rough, so we had to really move around to find anything to catch. There was a good amount of downtime in between sets and Jules and I did a lot of girl-talk. Very, very fun, and lots of laughter. Occasionally the ocean would get small (in between big, junky sets) and it felt like floating around in a huge bathtub with a great girlfriend. Kind of like happiness + excitement + peacefulness + giggles.

I have to say that when I surf, life feels so stripped down. It doesn't feel easy, but it feels simple. I'm such a worrier - I have been my entire life - but when I'm surfing I feel like everything is stripped down to the bare elements and it's much less complicated than when I'm on dry land. I don't know. It's hard to put into words, but I felt it so clearly that day. One thought kept going over and over in my mind: Surfing is saving me. I feel like surfing is saving me.

When I got changed I noticed that my wetsuit zipper tore another small chunk of hair off at the base of my head. I'm working on quite a 'do with the caked on wax and the missing patches.


  1. Again, it's so good to hear you articulate the spiritual benefit you're getting from surfing. I think it's been implicit in your writing for some time, but sometimes these things take a while to surface. I'm so happy for you that you're recognizing it - and, hard though you find it, you ARE putting it into words very eloquently.

    Oh, and the hair do comment? Don't feel self-conscious - I'll bet that you're gaining a real glow from the simplification, from the contentment, from the achievement, from the happiness+excitement+peacefulness+giggles. I know I'm always attracted to someone with something going on in their life - you've certainly got that.


  2. I love that you can carve out time to do the thing that makes you so happy! Sounds like you've had an awesome few days and cleansed your soul....that is great!

  3. Haha! The description of your hair makes me think of a baby. When they start to wiggle their precious little (or huge, as the case was with my kiddles) heads around they go bald on the back.

    Hmmm, kind of like surfing; its making you go bald in back, but the hair that grows in will be thicker, fuller and strong enough to withstand the wiggles.

  4. I know what you mean about how life seems simple when you surf. I haven't ever surfed (I know I'm from Cali and I've never surfed, you can smack me for it next time you see me.) but I always get that way when I'm at the ocean.

    I'd go to Monterey and just wade ankle deep in the water and feel the tide kind of pull my energies back to center. It was amazing and refreshing and perfect.

    Um, here, I put a toe in the water and I lost it to frost bite.

  5. I love that you do this. Really. I wanna be you for a day. But I don't want that learning curve! Everyone needs something that makes them lose themselves.