Monday, October 3, 2011

Dropping In

I got up early today and made it to the coast by 9:00 for a little surfy surf. It was so beautiful when I arrived. It's crazy how you never know - last time (and, hey, I still had fun) the waves were rolling sideways and backwards, and it took all my energy just to stand in the water. This time the waves were rolling in perfect lines, 4-5'; the intervals were short, but there was almost no wind to speak of. There were about 6 or 7 guys in the water when I arrived, but there were enough little breaks in the cove that we almost each could have had our own peak. 

My wetsuit is pretty thin (4/3? 3/2?), and my gloves are just 1.5 mm, so I was pretty worried about being cold. (Actually, I don't mind being cold at all. I just didn't want to be miserable.) It turned out to be great - water temp was about 57ยบ - it was refreshing. No ice cream headache at all.

I'm exhausted lately - all the drama with school, work, and the apartment has taken a toll. I'm being faithful with my runs (5k about 3 times a week, sometimes 4) but that's about all I'm doing. Even though the water was beautifully gentle, I was moving slow and only stayed out for about 2 hours. I never really felt totally centered - I had a couple of long rides, but I was super fidgety and noticed I was walking around on the board the whole time, and looking at the deck instead of head/heart up.

Still, the low wind and absence of current in the water convinced me to go outside, which I've done at least a half-dozen or dozen times in lessons, but I don't think I've ever done that by myself. And more than the conditions, there was a little peak at the north end of the cove that I had to myself so I didn't have to worry about being in anyone's way, which is really what keeps me from practicing on the outside most of the time. I paddled out (even though you can almost walk it here) and was freaking exhausted paddling through the calmish 5' sets 15 yards to the outside. Lame. But I did it a few times and went for a few "real" waves and caught two. One I kind of crashed on, and one I did pretty good on. I don't pop early enough, so I end up starting to ride down the drop on my belly, but I do get up before it breaks (I think) and, well, it's progress. That's a big deal for me.

Other than that, I just rode a lot of whitewater, worked on standing up straight, thought about life, and just kind of meditated the whole time. I loved - looooooved - being in the water again after . . . my god, it's only been two weeks. It felt flowly and slow-motion and cushiony and comforting. I planned on putting my board up when I got tired and just swimming for a while. But, as usual, I couldn't force myself to get out of the water until I'd used up every ounce of energy, and wasn't even sure how I'd hoof my board back up to the parking lot. So when I was done, I was done.

I thought about Jules today. And my job. I thought about control - how surfing requires you give up every single thing you think you know. What else is like that? I thought about the reasons I came to surfing in the first place. And I thought about being 40: this weird time in life when I guess you realize you didn't grow up to be a rock star/professional basketball player/super model. I remember having lunch with a great coworker in NY several years ago, and he was telling me about a conversation he had with his teenage sons. He was telling them that they could be anything they wanted to be when they grow up, and he said to me, "So, I guess, I was lying to them." I remember being surprised that he was so cynical. But I was in my 30's then, and still wet behind the ears :) Now I understand what he meant. I thought about all of that today, and more. 

I feel impatient and disappointed with where I'm at with my surfing. Here we go into another fall/winter, and the opportunities to surf will dwindle. All morning I wavered between frustration that I'm not further skill-wise, and being pleased at my adventure on the outside. It's fun to go head-first into a wave. Even with one pearl and one washing-machine experience today. Ray from Rockaway Beach was right - even a small drop looks like 20 stories from up there.

That's all I got. I guess it sounds like a mixed bag, but I was a happy, happy girl today.


  1. AS I get older, I take the days where I feel happy less and less for granted. The small things fill up my heart, y'know?

    Glad you had a good day surfing.

  2. Did you know Rockaway Beach is where I went last year for my birthday? Where there was the fire. Oh wait, I never told that story on my blog because of how the trip ended....maybe I should.

    In any case....

    I was thinking today of some of the people I know and how they are just musicians. It boggles my mind. They know what they want to do, they are passionate about it and they just do it. They all have "real" jobs that I see them work their asses off at, and they go home and work they're asses off at being amazing musicians. And they just do what they love.

    Maybe being whatever you want to be when you grow up doesn't look perfect. Maybe you have to work at a job to pay the bills, so that you can go into a studio and inspire people. Maybe we need to just do it. Whatever that "it" is. Do it as often as we can. And it's not exactly how we thought it might look, but we are still out there, trying.

    You are still out there, trying. And that inspires me. Thank you.

  3. Your surf stories are always my favorite. So honest and inspiring and authentically you.