photos: Charlie Tourtellotte
But wait…surfing is enjoyment, right? That’s the idea, especially one held by non-surfers who think we are some mystic and sun-kissed tribe of perpetually stoked gods and goddesses. The truth is that most of us have experienced, at least once, alienation from the unadulterated bliss they once knew as kids when surfing was synonymous with play. Somewhere along the journey, inland frustrations (jobs, school, relationship problems) follow us into the water and no matter how deep we duck dive, we can’t shake them. Not to mention the frustrations found in the water (kooks, crowds).
Here are 5 suggestions to reclaim the stoke.
1 / Far From the Madding Crowd
There’s a reason why crowds form at the pointbreaks, reefs, and sandbars: they’re the best breaks around. If bumping elbows and jockeying for position gets your hackles up, take a walk to that shitty shorebreak down the point and paddle out. You won’t get a mile-long thigh-burner, but you’ll get a chance to work on your short game: air drops, quick tube tucks, airs. And best of all, you’ll have it all to yourself. Don’t believe it? Check out this video of Ozzie Wright.
2 / Enjoy Spectating
You like watching sports, right? Football? Baseball? Why is it you don’t mind being a spectator of these sports, but you get greedy when you’re out in the lineup? When you paddle out on a good day, not only are you going to grab a few sick ones, but you’re also front-row-and-center for some incredible surfing going down. Sit on your board and watch. Hell, you might even learn something.
3 / Diversify Your Quiver
Your 6’1” Al Merrick potato chip thruster kills it at draining overhead pointbreaks. But it’s rarely draining and overhead at your local spot (unless you live in one of those special places). How many times have you seen a surfer on a potato chip chopping and hacking desperately to find some momentum on a 2 foot mushburger? And then you see the dude on the stubby mini-simmons setup gliding over the flat sections and floating the foam. It’s all about the best tool for the job. Your options are only limited by your imagination. Longboarding, bodyboarding, bodysurfing…your troubles are over, Dude.
4 / Volunteer with A Walk on Water
This non-profit organization has been introducing kids with special needs to surfing for years, with amazing results. Some children with special needs have difficulties with human touch and interaction, and surfing often helps break down these barriers. Bobbing around in the water and teaching a kid to surf ought to put things in perspective.
5 / Don’t Ever Forget…
That you are a multi-celled organism, host to billions of bacteria. You are floating in a vast ocean on a unique planet that balances violence and tranquility. You somehow have the time and money to do this thing. You are healthy enough to paddle. You’re alive. Paddle out past the break and behold the vault of the sky. Remember to see the ocean sometimes the way a non-surfer sees it. Or like someone who’s never seen it. Then go catch a wave. And, dammit, have fun.