Thursday, February 01, 2007

Stand


E WIND 10 TO 15 KT.
WIND WAVES 2 FT.
W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS.


I have spent most of my life as a surfer.

I first stood over four decades ago in the 60's, as a boy, inadvertently grinding down skegs in the shallows of San Diego beaches on my Uncle's boards (despite repeated warnings not too).

I surfed and bodysurfed throughout the 70's and early 80's in Leucadia; cutting my teeth at places like Beacons, Grandview, Cardiff Reef and Swamis on longboards, transition
single fin shortboards, paipos and Tom Morey's original boogie board.

Spent most of the mid-80's living and going to college in Long Beach; which found me travelling to breaks near and far, south and north, to Laguna, Trestles, Lunada Bay, Malibu and Rincon between college classes, surfing twin fins and impossibly small thrusters.

My surfing life was marred by a self-imposed drydock in the midwest for a couple years, but played an intimate role in recognizing what I wanted and needed as a surfer.

I returned to the West Coast in '89, but saw the waves and surf culture of my youth swallowed up by progress, crowds and greed.

I came to Oregon in the 90's and surfed empty pointbreaks, rock-lined coves and empty sand beaches for years; often solo or with a friend.

I saw friends, old and new, fall into traps of drugs, alcohol and burnout; then surrender surfing to follow those rides.

I held the hand of my mother as she died, and went surfing afterwards.

I carried her ashes, as I had those of my grandmother, and paddled far out to sea to return them to the abyss, later catching a wave to shore with my younger brother.

I have balanced my son and daughter on surfboards and intentionally ground down skegs in cold Oregon water with a Father's pride.
I stand, and remember the past, but recognize the future as inevitable.

Even as my abilities erode, I stand.

I carry within me my past; those I have surfed with, the places I have been and the waves I have ridden.

6 comments:

Gazelle said...

Thanks for those eloquent words. I've always thought that when you learn to surf and swim in the ocean as a child, the impressions are so deep that you're marked for life. Such a person can later end up living far from the sea and will forever dream about peeling lines and air drops and the roaring sound of a barrel. There's definitely worse ways to be 'marked.'

I can remember my early days in the water more clearly than most moments from childhood - getting barreled on a Ziffy or Water Wonder, trying to stand up on an inflatable raft and eating it, the first stand up on a waterlogged and blistered 10 footer. All kids should be so lucky...

pushingtide said...

Amazing pic.

Great words.

G said...

Seems to me that's a life well lived...and a post very well written. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I remember those days in Encinitas at stonesteps and the very memerable days at Palomar college. Days when you were hitchhiking and I picked you up in my crappy car. Then those days of waking up early to catch what waves we could, at Seal beach before we went to class. We both still persue that harmony in the water, you on the west coast, me in the Gulf.

Doc said...

Mein Herr

That car was great...

Just really hard to push!

Good to hear from you.

T

surferbrat said...

Such a great post. So well put. I look forward to the years ahead of me to build memories in the water, just like you've done, and the years behind me, to look back on. Cheers