It is time to put childish things behind.
I grew, as I’ve written so many times, surfing very cold waves. I would wear two 3/2 wetsuits, one over the other, to try and beat the chill. I would always loose my booties and my feet would become dull stumps. It would take hours to regain body warmth afterward. Days even.
And, so, in my new Southern California existence I feel happy every day that it never gets truly “cold.” I never look at videos of cold waves and think, “I want to go there!” Except look at this! A beautifully shot little bit from a British man named Sharpy. Just look at it! Not the surfing but the waves themselves. Doesn’t it look dreamy? Doesn’t it make you want to strap on the armor? I feel that my style would be extremely conducive to these waves. A slow, lanky bottom turn and then up under the lip. Oh don’t worry. My hands would not shoot to the sky afterward. I would only feel shame that I wasn’t deeper.
And herein lies some very real talk. Be very honest with yourself. Have you ever done anything on a wave that was worth claiming? Have you ever surfed a wave to its maximum potential? Have you ever won the Eddie? Have you ever rotated, fully, in the air, hands free? Have you?
I understand the joyous reflex. The feeling that pumps through the veins when you have surfed a wave to the best of your ability but get a hold of yourself, man. The best of your ability is, on the grand scale, very much worse than Brett Simpson’s. What if he threw his hands up in triumph after getting 3/4 covered? We would laugh is what.
Yes, we, as a culture, are losing our ability to feel personal shame. Years of being told we are exceptional children has instilled too much confidence maybe. Too much pride in our own mediocre abilities. It is time to put on our contrition, like two 3/2 wetsuits, one over the other. Constricting? Certainly, but too bad for you. Too bad for me. If we want to be freed we can move somewhere warm and actually learn to surf really really really good.
*For anyone but Dane Reynolds, John John Florence, Kelly Slater and a small handful of others.