It’s nineteen-seventy something and my parents had recently purchased a condo at Cocoa Beach.
My Mom has always loved the beach, coming from Upstate New York, her dream was to be in the sun, surf and most of all warmth of the Florida sun. This was my parents’ chance to make a dream come true while making a good real estate investment.
Mom and I spent most summers in the condo. Dad would come over on the weekends and Mom and I would stay from the day school let out in the spring until the day before school started in the fall. It is some of my fondest memories growing up.r
On our first summer, I found an attraction, more of a longing, to be a surfer. I would watch the other kids out on their boards and think to myself “That looks like the most fun ever.”
After watching the other kids, and quite frankly many adults, surfing, I asked my Mom if I could get a surfboard. The immediate response was, “No, you’ll hit your head and drown.” This was a typical reply from my Mom. She nixed everything from baseball to skateboarding with some story that would always end with me dead or in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
As the days passed and I continued to “stalk” the surfers, I see one of the guys throw his board in the dumpster outside our condo. This was my chance, I thought. So a dumpster diving did I go.
It was a beat-up board that was missing most of its fiberglass skin exposing the rough polyurethane core.
I jumped out of the dumpster and sprinted to the shore like Indian Jones running from the natives to escape to the plane. I found to my delight the thing was seaworthy and I took off on my maiden voyage.
I also quickly found that surfing is an acquired skill. The other guys made it look so easy. See a wave, paddle a bit, jump up and ride the face of the wave. Lather, rinse, repeat.
There is an art to surfing. Wave selection is first. You have to judge which wave as the right size, speed, and surfable wall surface to give you a good ride.
Next, you have to be able to paddle to the right part of the wave and at the right speed for the wave to pick up the board and move it forward and determine which direction the wave is breaking to give you the longest ride.
Then you have to be able to get to your feet in one fluid motion and then balance at the correct point of the board to stay on top while moving at anywhere from seven to ten miles per hour. Faster on a bigger wave.
It’s a bit like doing burpees on the hood of a car going down a bumpy road but, much more fun.
There are no words to describe the feeling of freedom, of being one with a power so much bigger than yourself.
Communing with nature as you ride the wave. I have had times when there were porpoises swimming in the wave I was riding and jumping out of the water right in front of me. Watching the pelicans dive from the sky to get their breakfast and seeing stingrays leap out of the water, just for fun.
I love to see my FaceBook friends that are still living their passion for surfing. As I improve my physicality I will soon be in the lineup calling out “Outside!” as a new set comes at us to ride the wild surf.
Live, Love, Matter