your first wave and leaving the milk out

It's sprummer (spring / summer) and everywhere people are coming out of the long dark winter months of the northern hemisphere and having successfully decanted themselves on the beach, mat and flippers in hand, they suddenly come to a full and complete stop (never a good idea on PCH) and wonder aloud "how do you ride this thing?"

The answer is simple but it comes wrapped in a riddle.

Solve the riddle and the answer is there staring you in the face.

On the way to the answer,

there is often times, I must say, usually some awkwardness,

some taking off on the right waves and going left

some squeezing the wrong spots at the wrong times

(sounds like some dates I've been on)

There will be some times when you take your trusty surf board when you should have taken your mat

there will be times when you took your mat when you should have taken a nap

If you are lucky enough to be strategically collocated you might attend a mat meet and make friends with some of the nicest people on the planet.     

Eventually one day you will swim yourself outside on a nondescript day at some nondescript break and take off on a nondescript wave.

You will roll / lean into a turn using you whole body. From the ends of your fingers up to and most importantly including the very ends of your inside fin tips. And suddenly, while you are wondering if you put the milk away this morning or did you leave it out on the counter, your surf mat, which you have come to think of a non sentient object but is really an special class of omnibenevolent space alien technology will decide that it's time to give you a taste. The mat will on it's own volition choose the fastest possible path on the spinning vortex of the wave as it unfolds before you. Since up to this point you have been thinking about little else but the possibility of spoilage of a milky variety will have no other option but to stop thinking, hold on and pay attention for the next 20 odd seconds or so as your little mind is totally blown. Surfing, surfers, in fact the entire universe will never look quite the same after that first wave.

After the wave is over you will have a weird little smile on your face and a glazed look that will only fade after several days. You will try to recall the wave in detail in a futile attempt to explain the speeds you achieved but the harder you think it about the faster the whole experience will fad into a warm fuzzy memory of no discernible dimension.

Your stoke will suddenly increase exponentially and return to levels unknown since your mom dropped you off at the beach that sunny day all those summers ago and you rode your first waves. In fact, your stoke will be so high that it will extend out from you and start stoking up other people that are merely standing in close proximity. People, usually total strangers, will come up to you and say, "How did you do that?! What is that you are riding??".

You will start to tell them the story about leaving the milk out and the mat taking you on this wild ride and those people will frown and back away. Some rather quickly.

Then you will wise up and the next time someone asks, you will wrap the answer up in a riddle and say, "you just sort of lean over and twist at the optimum moment and then you know, the hydrodynamic forces, being what they are and the basic laws of physics being what they are and then of course there are certain unalienable rights endowed upon us by our creator..."  and they will smile. And they will get their own mats and they will unravel their own riddle.



Robin Thomson said…
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Robin Thomson said…
Good stuff Prana! Just the other day a colleague and acquaintance of mine, who happened to be come in at the same time I did, asked me why I chose to ride a surf mat rather than a bodyboard. I remember now that his son, who I taught guitar to for a little while was a keen bodyboarder, so it was a reasonable question. In the past I have spouted technical reasons why when approached in this way. But more recently I have found myself talking about it diffently. It boils down to how being able to feel every nuance of the movement of the wave through the softly inflated mat provides a simply irresistable experience that no other surf craft can provide!

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