Monday, July 26, 2010

The Surf Diaries

#17 Stay Alert, Stay Alive

The sea reveals itself today to be energised. This vigor fuels the length of the beach so there is a traffic jam of surfers, probably 30-40 of 'em, jostling for space.

The water is unusually brisk.  It's another one of those days where you have to be on top of your game because the size of the waves demands it.  I see a cormorant diving around for lunch, and notice a longish fish dart through the lime green shallows.

In the opening stages of this session I stand on an avalanche that swallows me into a foaming abyss.  I windmill through in a standing position, my board glancing by my jaw, then flashing by my shoulder, then feathering a calf, the telltale temporary tugging of my ankle providing the only sense of reality - a tug must mean the board is behind me, being funneled by a wave.  When I emerge I clamber back onto my board and ponder the similarities between surfing and being in utero.  Suspended in fluid, an umbilicus, and a thundering heartbeat droning through a dark though milky emulsion.  Birth and light - intertwined.

I seem to have made progress as I seem to purchase a few seconds of standing within the sets of animated symmetry.
But, to be honest, I am still struggling to get my one leg higher up on the board, and the inescapable conclusion I have reached is: my big round stomach is in the way.  I need to reduce belly size, and being a little lighter can't hurt either. I will have to add a few runs to the week's workload.

Around me body boarders, long boarders and surfers are making the most of the sets moving through.  This is also one of the best days I've experienced here. For once there's variety and good vertical size, and also reasonable water depth after the wave break.

Walking back, I'm amazed and grateful for the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon in this way.  If you're in Bloemfontein, what is there to do that comes close to this?

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