Monday, September 3, 2007

Surfin' USA


When the summer began, Torrey and I began thinking that we really need to take advantage of our proximity to the beach by actually going from time to time. But somehow we got busy and spent very little time on the sand. So now we are making up for lost time, with four visits to the beach in the past eight days. Saturday morning we went surfing with Erik and Ryan Floyd, Luke Ardill and Dan Coombs. This was only my third time ever trying to surf, and my very first time to be out in the waves with other people. And there were in fact a lot of other people. When we arrived at the beach we looked across the water to find that there was a solid line of neoprene-clad figures sitting on surfboards, waiting for the next big one to come along. So we gathered up our things and headed out into the water to join the Labor Day weekend crowd. I quickly found that once I caught a wave, my board had a bad habit of nosing into the trough and dumping me into the frothing surf. So I improvised, and instead of catching waves head-on, I began catching them at an angle, which did indeed help me avoid tumbling in the waves, but also served to push me across the line of surfers. After several such attempts at catching waves, Erik cautioned me to be aware of those around me and to avoid cutting the other surfers off. A neighbor (one I had apparently unwittingly angered) quickly chimed in to lecture me about “surfers’ etiquette.” As I continued to battle the surf that day in my heightened awareness of the surfers around me, I slowly realized something about surfers’ etiquette. There really is no such thing. The ocean is just a big playground where the bully, the boldest, fastest guy out there gets his way, and the little guy, or in my case, the big guy who doesn’t know what he is doing, loses every time.

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