Thursday, 22 October 2009

A list

You know you sometimes wander along and get that know the one I mean? You smell or hear something and all your senses rushing to the fore at once, a gazillion memories flooding back at the same time and usually accompanied by a pang of nostalgia.

Here's a list of things I like that make this happen :)

1. The smell after a thunderstorm
2. Hearing 'When I come Around' play
3. Being tucked up in bed when it is miserable, cold and raining buckets outside
4. Running around in a heavy downpour
5. Sitting out back with a close friend
6. Walking to the train station early morning, when the sun is shining and the streets are empty
7. Drinking pimms and lemonade
8. Smell of a bbq
9. Drinking Fosters draught in a bar

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Back in the Old Routine

Saturday 10th October. I finally made it back in the water. It's been a long time.

I'd squeezed in a trip to the states, where a lot of walking, cycling and swimming and stepped up my rehab somewhat. Though only 5 weeks off crutches and not allowed to do anything too strenuous, I though I might be able to squeeze in a short surf trip.

As luck would have it, the Boss was back in town. Granted 2 weeks leave from fighting in Afghan, he was more than willing to hit the old road trip route and reminisce over the past.

Being a little older this time. Not going above 80 and accompanied by girlfriends, we road-tripped to North Devon and setup camp. Everything was set for an end-of-season BBQ and some swapping of war stories around the camp fire.

The surfing itself was good on Saturday. The forecast hadn't been too promising, but the weather was warm, sea still manageable in a summer suit and the sun shining. The waves were regular and in the 3 foot range, even if they lacked a little power.

I'd already prepared myself for the fact I would have no chance of being on a board, so was content to take in a bodyboard and pick off a few waves as and when they had enough juice to assist me. Unfortunately, my ankle was still too weak to allow me to kick for any weaker waves. But I was back, I was happy.

The Boss however seemed to have other ideas. Mellowed by age and experience, but still as eager as ever, he owned the waves. I'm not sure that I have ever seen him surf with such enthusiasm and skill, after such a long layoff. It was a pleasure to be back in the water with the guy it all started with.

The short trip has shown me where I need to work my leg to improve and get back surfing properly. I'm on it.

Friday, 2 October 2009

All Mouth No Trousers

Pecs to die for, a sculpted six-pack, boardies worn low and the latest board shaped by Al Merrick. Owning a pristine VW camper and spending a week each Summer in Newquay. Now that's what it takes to be a surfer. Facebook is full of people who pose as surfers in their profile pictures, but probably haven't been out back, let alone stood on anything more advanced than a foamy.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against people learning to surf. Totally the opposite. I love people taking it up and the excitement they get once they are hooked. I still remember the feeling I had when I caught my first ever wave on a big foam Swell board. It's the feeling I'm still trying to recreate 8 years on.

My gripe though, is when people lack humility, they have to act the 'big I am'. Owning a board, driving to Newquay and looking the part, don't make you a surfer.

I remember I saw a photo of a friends 'love interest', on myspace. The guy used to rave about how he was a surfer, yada, yada, yada. Sure he looked the part, the hair, the clothes, but this photo.......well, not only was he walking along the beach at sunset carrying his board (oh yeah a 6'2 thruster that would rarely get use in this country!), he had his leash round his ankle. Mistake number 1. Nobody walks down the beach with a leash round their ankle, you trip over the damn thing! I could have forgiven him though, I mean the guy might have been Jeebus and floated across the sand, avoiding leash tripping (yeah right!). The clincher though........he was wearing his skin tight white vest with his boardies. Was he gonna wear that out there or put it in his pocket?! It was more like the Abercrombie and Fitch 05 catalogue shoot.

Who cares what people ride or where they do it. Who cares if it's the fashionable surf spot to be at or the gnarliest. Surfing isn't about macho bullshit or partying 24/7 then surfing. Surfing comes from within. It isn't something you do, it's a state of mind. It isn't the physical act of being in the water and partaking in a watersport. It is something you feel. Something grounded in humility. Something anyone can be part of, but they cannot own it or allow their ego to be bigger than it.