I’m sitting up on my board. One leg hanging over each side, as I let the ocean move me softly and wait for the next set. Only seconds ago, three waves peeled their way towards the shore, beautifully in sync. I didn’t catch any of them. Sometimes, I like to just sit out here.
I reposition the nose of my baby blue board toward the now sun-drenched horizon. It’s the kind of beauty you see in a painting. Like an artist has splashed red, orange and pink guaches on a canvas, and the paint had a mind of its own. The water has turned an almost purple colour – as blue and red mix.
I can’t recognise the other surfers now, as the sunset turns them into silhouettes. There’s a collective feeling though, between us. My attention goes to my chest. It feels full. I know that feeling. It’s one of love. I smile to myself.
Life, like surfing, is two things: timing and intuition. Science and soul. You know what to do, the theory. There’s your position on the board, the paddling, choosing the right wave, and the time to stand up.
And then there’s the feeling. Surfing is nothing unless you can feel the wave, listen to it, and work with it. You take a breath, paddle out, position yourself, see your wave and go. No amount of theory will tell you the split-second to get up. You’ve got to use your intuition.
If you let it, the ocean will teach you. It will show you a lot about the person you are. Forget status, money or knowledge. In the ocean, everyone is equal. It’s going to suck you out, no matter who you are.
Forget pride or preconceived notions about skills. Expectations kill the surfer. It’s not about getting that perfectly edited Instagram shot, cutely resting against the board. That’s just buying into the ‘idea’ of surfing.
You know that feeling you’re searching for? That momentary happiness after buying something. That buzz you get after a few gins. It’s there, on the crest of that wave. You learn that you don’t need ‘things.’ It’s a feeling that no amount of money can buy, and Mother Nature’s giving it away, for free.
The energy from that wave doesn’t just disappear. It transfers to you. This is the feeling. And once you experience it, you finally get it. There’s a sense of empowerment. Against the odds, you and that little board, are dancing with nature. It’s not easy, but that’s the beauty of it. The struggle is where the lessons lie.
About tenacity and never giving up. About always looking up and forward, no matter how scared you are. The power of following your feelings, and going with the flow. How there will be calm moments and chaos – both will pass.
If you can look inside yourself, deep down at the core, you will discover it, too.