Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Let's talk about surfing...

I first stood on a canvas raft at age 6. At 7, I stood up on a real surfboard. I became obsessed at 11.
Surfing saved my life! No doubt about it. I wasn't a great athlete when I was young, and mom was wondering what she was going to do with me. Surfing fit perfect. It takes mind, body and spirit. It's a blast, it's healthy, it' physical, no right way or wrong way, a way to express oneself with no rules and the playground is the ocean with the beach supplying the perfect arena. I got good, surfed contests, got sponsors, worked at the local surf shop. Surfing made me think past my local area code.
 I started surfing in the late 70's. Lightning Bolt single fins, Gerry Lopez, Birdwells, long hair, Pot, Caster twin fins, Z-flex, Classic Rock, were the elements of righteousness. I was neck deep. I had a little surf crew in the summer of 1980. Chris Porter, Joey Vogel, Chris B. Mike King. to name a few. We mainly surfed 10th St. in Atlantic Beach. The pier there was quickly losing form, but we were still able to shoot through a few pilings. Allowing us to claim our first " I shot the pier today" story. I remember being very conscious of the older surfers. The way they surfed, how they held their arms, the turns they did. How they carried themselves and their surfboards out of the water. The girls they would talk to. I was in complete fascination with the whole lifestyle.
 Then fall came and school started. Fuck! Whatever, I got to do it, but surfing was the only thing on my mind. The year started pretty much like the rest. Although it was the 7th grade, which means a new school. I was going to Junior High, and I was at the bottom of the pecking order. Whatever, I'm a surfer and very proud of the fact. I kept surfing as much as possible after school and on the weekends. I started surfing more at the end of my street, 4th street Atlantic Beach. Meeting a new crew of surfers from the 10th street guys. 10th Street crew were the Classic Rock. 4th Street crew were younger, but still older than me. They were the Strickland Rats, a division of our beloved RATTOWN. So soccer season came around at school. It seemed the crew I stared surfing with were all trying out for the team. I followed suit. I made the team, I wasn't the worst, definitely not the best. I hurt my Knee at practice before the season kicked off. The coach requested I get a doctor's note if I wanted to continue playing soccer. My knee was fine, surfing told me so. I wasn't going to ask my single mom of four to make an unnecessary and expensive trip to the doctor, so I blew it off. He would let me participate during practice, but during the games I sat. Everyone played but me. Again I wasn't the best, but not the worst. At our third game of the season my life would change forever. We were playing an away game, 2nd half. I don't remember if we were losing or winning. My bench seat was at an all time heated temperature. I went up to the coach and said "Put me in coach" his reply "No note, no play." At that point, out of nowhere my balls grew. I looked up at him, puffed up my whole 4'10' 90lb frame and said, "I QUIT !" I then proceeded to take off my school soccer gear, except for my shorts and walked back to the bus barefooted, cleats in hand. When the game was over and my friends got on the bus, they barraged me with stupid questions. The only answer I could give them was "Wouldn't you rather be surfing, cuz I do." I never felt so proud in my life. That day I became me. It was such an adrenaline shot. I stuck it to the man I thought. I got home after the game and went surfing.
to be continued...

The dynamics of surfing are multi faceted. Geography, oceanography, weather, hydrodynamics, design, curves, competition, social awareness, to name a few. I'm in awe of it all...

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. Positive message to follow your dreams. Great Story telling!