Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Surfing Has Taught Me

Usually I stick to the "major" sports here at The Sports Oasis. They appeal to such a wide audience, and it seems that everyone can find something they enjoy reading when those are covered. However, I also try to mix it up a bit with off-beat or non-mainstream sports related posts as well. This is going to fall more into that category.

For some reason, I've never really considered surfing a "sport". Maybe it's because I've never entered any contests, but I've always seen it more as an interest or a lifestyle. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there aren't waves all of the time(especially in Florida). At any given moment you could shoot some hoops, play 18 holes, get in some batting practice or throw some passes. However, while you can paddle your surfboard around anytime you want, it's not really the same as dropping into a wave, hitting the lip or getting barreled. Those moments seem to be few and far between. Though, they have taught me one thing very well.


Now don't get me wrong, I still get impatient. Probably more often than I should. Whether it's at the self-checkout counter where someone has 50 gazillion items(and no idea how to scan them properly), or driving behind someone doing 10 under the limit while they talk on their cellphone. I still find myself wishing horrible things upon them in my head. However, I think that practicing the art of patience while waiting for surf has made the elapsed time from calm to super-pissed at least a little longer. Getting your hopes up a week before a projected swell is to arrive, only to have it fizzle out can produce similar results.

At least it used to. Now I know not to get my hopes up too much. Instead of being angry that the swell didn't arrive I find myself more grateful for whatever swell does arrive. Sure 2-3ft and choppy isn't as nice as 6ft glass, but at the end of the day it's all about being in the water and just getting one or two rides. Clearing my head, and being thankful for everything/everyone that I have can be accomplished in both conditions and that's what surfing is all about to me. Though, the 6ft glassy waves seem to bring on that stoked feeling a little quicker.

I read a quote once that said "only a surfer knows the feeling", and I think that there is a lot of truth in that statement. There are many different types of surfers, and we all go about our daily lives in many different ways. But when a good swell hits we're all in the water, cheering each other on(vocally and non-vocally), sharing that same stoked feeling. It's the in-between times that are the most difficult, but they also serve to teach us good lessons and make us grateful for what we've got. Those times might not be making us better surfers, but hopefully they're making us better people.

No comments: