"We’d all like to be Nathan Florence, surfing around the world and being handed out full-body cardio workouts like they’re a morning coffee."
So I’m in the garage, sweating away on a half-broken elliptical, my Chromebook balanced precariously on the office chair sitting in front of me, watching the latest Nathan Florence clip.
Have you seen it?
MULLAGHMORE GOES XXL: THE INSANE RIDES, BARRELS AND BEATDOWNS OF NOV 9TH 2023
Nathan Florence and his coterie attacking what has to be one of the scariest, most fuck-off waves in the world. The jagged, kunji-covered jewel in the crown of Atlantic surfing. Mullaghmore.
It’s hard to imagine how Nathan Florence can raise the bar any further.
Yet here, I think as my spindly legs thrash away on the rusted piece of exercise equipment that my wife won’t let me bring into the house proper, he’s done it again. Side-slipping down the face of cartoon-like portals. Treating spine-crunching Mullaghmore like it’s three-foot Bingin.
It’s easy to hang shit on the YouTube generation and their hamster wheel of cheese-grade content creators. But Nathan Florence is inscrutable. An institution. Like Thanksgiving dinners or Christmas puddings.
Like Thanksgiving dinners or Christmas puddings.
That’s a good line.
I’ll have to write it down before I forget it. I click the elliptical into a lower gear. Up the resistance. Imagine I’m a dedicated, elite athlete. Just like Nathan Florence.
This fucken elliptical. I’d prefer to be surfing.
But it’s another one of those cold, bleak November afternoons at home. Soft rain dribbling across the windows. A strong nor-east wind has been blowing for days, causing another cold water upwelling. Spring time water hovers at icecream-headache temperatures. A weak, long interval south swell has a couple of little ones wrapping around the Point every ten minutes. Objectively, it’s not worth getting wet.
I decide for a quick session on the elliptical instead.
You tried one before? They’re pretty regular in gyms, I am led to believe, though I have never stepped foot in one to verify. Like a treadmill, but with handles attached to the footing so you get a full body workout.
Because, fuck it, I’m closing in on forty. And this is the shit you need to do to yourself sometimes. When you’re an office worker, sitting down eight hours a day. We’d all like to be Nathan Florence, surfing waves of consequence around the world and being handed out full-body cardio workouts like they’re a morning coffee.
But this was the hand I was dealt.
I found the thing on the side of the road only a few doors down from my place, the elliptical, about a week or so ago. A “Free” sign hanging jauntily off its handles. The electrics were cooked, so no calorie counting, but the pedals and apparatus itself were all in tact. You could even still manually adjust the setting.
This is it, I thought to myself as I surveyed its weathered frame. This is my ticket to fitness. I imagined myself on it 24/7. During work meetings. Watching tv. At family events. At the end of the aisle at my daughter’s wedding, popping away. I’ll be the fittest man alive.
The cunt was heavy, but. Too much to carry back up the road myself without scratching the fuck out of it. All I had on hand was the wife’s hatchback. I ran back home and grabbed the keys. Rolled the car back down the hill, and reversed up next to it, like a snake sizing up its prey. It was going to be tricky. But I popped the boot anyway.
Some inspired thinking and I had it in the car. Then it was in the garage. And now here I am, bopping away on it like the fuckwit I am.
I can run for an hour and not break a sweat. But twenty minutes on this thing pumps me. It gets boring, though. I burn through the podcasts. Only so many spotify soundtracks I can listen to.
Which brings me back to this afternoon in question, and the entire reason I am watching YouTube on my Chromebook, resting awkwardly on the side of my chair.
I’d seen a clip of the new Nathan Florence video on Insta and just had to watch it. I cued it up on the lappy before I started my run. A 25 minute episode. Perfect.
He drops in on one. Crouched, his hands fused in place to the rails, body and board locked into a stupendous free fall. He looks like one of those toy plastic soldiers I used to throw from the upstairs balcony.
He lands in the foamball. Is annihilated.
What runs through your mind when you’re throwing yourself into something like that, I wonder as I slow my rhythm on the elliptical back down. Surely there’s some sense of self -preservation flickering somewhere?
I know my automatic instinct. My deeply ingrained fight-or-flight response, proven time and time again on the countless waves I could have went, but didn’t. Pull back. Save yourself.
I guess that’s why I’m here in a garage, on a broken down elliptical, and Nathan Florence is the Content King of the Surfing World.
Content King of the Surfing World.
That’s a great line, I think to myself as I begin to speed back up, the elliptical groaning and shuddering under my weight. I need to get it down before I forget.