Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Surf Diaries

# 6 Breakthrough

Going for a surf at dusk is magical.  I could never come up with nature's palettes.  Try smooth ribbons of pink alternating with strips of British racing green.  Try liquid gold, spread over the enervated water like treasure.  Covered in mercury globs, gold tipped, I swing my board at the heaving curves of water.  It goes from gold to orange to a dance of startling scarlet pink; behind me baby blue clouds dance between reflected purples and grays.  Meanwhile manmade structures silhouette black and grim aginst the setting sun, or glow behind me in the last light of day.  Slightly elevated, catching those yellow rays is an unreal urban scene, it glows mythically, a fragment sunlit over an increasingly sunless strand.

It's in this rich visual abundance that I find my feet.  As the wave reaches its maximum height, I pop, and slide downward...  I crash into the water, but I've made the breakthrough.  Surfing is like skiing.  With skiing it seems counterintuitive to lean towards the downhill slope you're advancing towards.  But if you lean back you lose your balance.  With surfing you need to stand before you crawl, and you need to pop at the first moment the wave takes over your paddling speed.  It's a moment of uncertainty that you instinctually want to explore on your belly But you have to stand when that large curling beast catches hold of you and govern that uncertainty. That's surfing.  I've felt a titillating fraction of it.

While I'm immersed this experience, excited that I seem to have made a breakthrough, I notice a very tanned gentleman walking straight towards my little bundle of clothes.  I pause in the sea, long enough for a wave to bash against my back.  I notice my new pal is heading straight for my possessions in the sand, and so I pick up my board and start walking back.  Of course by now he has noticed me and so sidles past, I can almost hear him whistling.  Question is, where is he going to go now?  It's dark - is he going to go for a walk on the beach?  How often do you see very tanned young gentlemen going for a walk along on the beach to take in the night air?  I've stopped walking forward and watch the fellow reach the water [maintaining the weird original course of his walk via the buoy of my stuff].  Guess what he does?  He looks like he isn't even sure what he wants to do, then bends down, washes his face with sea water, turns on his heel and heads back, this time on a more conventional route off the beach [not via my things].

This incident definitely disrupts my rythmn.  I was starting to get into a groove and the waves were just about right where I was, but for safety's sake I now locate myself closer to my bundle.  There's nothing to steal but flip flops and a t-shirt, or perhaps my car keys. But even so, I'd rather not have to make donations of my own car or clothing right now.
I'm starting to get into it again when three chaps, possibly distant cousins of my blue-shirted pal, saunter past my stuff and decide, once they're standing immediately next to my things, that it's a good time and place to discuss life, the universe and everything. They're standing about a metre away, to have their in-depth chat right there.  It's a strange sort of conversation because it involves one of them looking out at the sea, and the other two examining the seasand around my shirt sleeves for pretty shells.

Once again I feel I have to advance on my things, and so I see them do a little star gazing and point to an invisible particle floating in the air in a region relative to my stuff known as 'somewhere else'.  And then they saunter away, their discussions on the topics of astronomy and the Heisenberg theory complete. 

This would be an awesome country if it weren't for the people who live here.  I surf a little more, then pack up and go home.

# 5

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