You want your kid to ride waves for money? Are you sure?
You got kids? If you do, you know what robust enjoyment they bring.
Mine are delicate-boned little things with guinea-pig faces and glossy hair and if I don’t see them I fall into a dreadful melancholia. Although I’m not one given to end-of-life feelings, any sort of separation sends me into an emotional paralysis.
(You think divorce is easy? Read this if you feel like you want to bust out of your gilded cage.)
One of my favourite things to do is to swim out with one of my kids when it’s a little bigger, hold his hand and, when a set comes, tell him we’ll dive to the bottom, open our eyes and dodge the pillars of foam together.
A few years back, I started dragging ’em out for surfs. Dads know the drill on this. You caddy ’em out onto a waist-deep bank on a foam board, find little corners and push ’em into runners. Because you are an expert your commands are endless and forceful: paddle like this, catch this, stand up now, turn your head, do this, do that.
And you think, what a gift I’m giving my kid. My dad never took me surfing. My dad never revealed the mysteries of the ocean to me.
If the kid isn’t totally repulsed by the learning process and he starts to improve a little the dad moves to the sand with his video camera, snatching precious vision for post-session analysis. I vacationed in Hossegor a few years ago and was astonished by the dad’s squatting under umbrellas while their kids shimmied to to the beach on their JS’s and DHD’s.
It really is a thing. A dad used to want his kid to be President. Or an architect. A doctor. Education used to be everything. Work hard. Get ahead. Make the world a better place.
Now it’s a pro surfer or, and I see it more in the skate parks, a pro skater.
Is it the illusion of cool?
Is it the failed ambition of daddy manifesting itself in his kids?
Why would you want your kid to be a pro surfer?
Why would you take something that has given you so much and turn it into an insecure, stress-ridden occupation with very little reward?
Bottom line: unless the kid is a masterpiece, an Eli Hanneman or Bronson Meidy, the best he can hope for is a few orbits of the qualifiers and, maybe, best scenario, a year in a WCT jersey.
Toast the bliss of childhood.
Surf with your kid but button your lips, let him (her) make their mistakes, catch the wrong waves, paddle like dumb-asses.
Let ’em enjoy surfing in all its futility and beauty.