I laid my face on the board, my arms above me, resting. The slivers of sun lay vertically on my vision, little droplets of light dewed on my eyelashes. I blinked, swaying up and down in the waves. The horizon lay as a line slicing my face in half, off quite a ways. I had paddled and paddled but failed to catch the last few waves, I missed the whole set—I was tired, but happy.
The water was warm, warmer than I had anticipated, and the hue of the ocean seemed that rare blue that you only see in your dreams. I sat up on the board, dangling my legs to the sides, looked at the rising horizon, felt the ocean beneath me, around me, within me.
Its power indubitable, the ocean does not discriminate, and commands respect. There is no controlling it, there is no harnessing its strength . Just the waiting, the watching, the learning to read its swells and surges, as unpredictable as they may be so that you can take part in it’s play with the shore.
In the line up there are friends, experienced surfers, rookies (like me), people taking lessons, SUP boarders. Yet, no one questions your relationship with the ocean, it is yours and yours alone to battle, to enjoy, to learn, to wipe out, to live in. The self consciousness drips right out of you, and so you try and fail, and try again.
I paddle back in. Old me would be frightened witless to face a wave head on, but now I paddle hard into the wave and push my board down going through the crest. There is something empowering about letting your physical energy output be met with nature’s energy, in the wave. It feels like for a second there is a supernatural kiss as you go through, a blessing being laid upon you, a little push back that makes you go on.
It is something of magic when finally the quick turn, the fast paddling, everyone’s “paddle, paddle! harder, harder !” encouragement, and the kicking of feet place you feeling the surge beneath you. Where, all of your efforts are suddenly and unexplicably met and–when your deltoids and biceps, and all of your upper back is burning– you feel propelled, no… carried, forward. So you are ON the wave, and so you stand.
Riding a wave is akin to what I imagine flying would feel like. It is the most human you ever feel–a part of such a vast world as the ocean, one with it. Yourself and your worries now shrunk to their true proportion: tiny in the misting waves, small atop this blue planet, blood rushing back to yor heart in its deep blue veins.