Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Surfin' Cocoa Beach
Have you ever seen a surfing documentary? Step Into Liquid is my favorite because, well, it is incredible. The raw, awe-inspiring power of the ocean is harnessed into a sport that is one part finesse, one part creativity, and one part wicked cool athleticism. And they make it look so stinking easy! I went to the beach my first weekend here in Florida and the guys out there were making it look easy too.
So I took the day off today. After working 25.5 hours the last two days (11 at Congo River Golf and 14.5 at Relevant Magazine), I figured I deserved a day off. Well, it wasn't a full day because I finished my first feature to be published and did an hour interview, but you get the point. And I headed down to Cocoa Beach with some friends to learn how to surf. The kind folks at Ron Jon Surf Shop rented us boards for 5 bucks and we hit the beach.
First mistake; I didn't bring a rash guard shirt. I figured I was tough and didnt need it (and cheap and didnt want to buy one). After two hours, my chest was (and still is) torn up, a ugly red rash adorning my belly like I just did a belly flop into a poison ivy patch. And I learned why surfers wear board shorts. The lining of regular suits... well it chafes. And I learned that all those surfing documentaries are a lie! This is hard stuff.
It took my quite some time to stand up; I was more interested in learning how to make my board nose dive and becoming acquainted with the sand on the bottom on the ocean. But when I finally caught my first wave and stood up... ahh what a rush. It was for maybe a couple seconds, but it felt unlike anything I have ever felt before. Whereas skiing on snow is hard, feeling the rush yes, but also the hard terrain beneath your feet, surfing was smooth and effortless. After all, the wave did most of the work for me. Water skiing is mechanical; with surfing, God was the mechanic who invented the surf and told it where to break and made my body in a way that I can stand and balance. I am no expert. I probably caught 5 decent waves in 2 hours and spent the rest of the time falling off my board as I was sitting still, getting rolled by waves, and paddling and paddling and missing my chance. But those 5 times are enough to make me want to go back. To step back into liquid and see what surprise God has for me next time.