I might be interested in learning to surf because it’s one of the few outdoor sports I’ve yet to engage with fully. I’ve kayaked, rock climbed, spelunked, mountain biked, and more, but I live just a bit too far inland to take up surfing.
Surfing, like most other sports, has its own culture. But the culture displayed in, say, rock climbing doesn’t have quite the same allure to me. I mean, there’s no Beach Boys for rock jocks. The closest thing I can think of is maybe John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” which isn’t exactly on point.
Don’t misunderstand. There are elements of surf culture that don’t interest me. Supercharged testosterone can be annoying in any arena, but the truth is that I typically imagine myself surfing all by myself. I’m alone on the glassy water—rising and falling with the swells and riding the wave break into shore.
I’ve heard the ocean described as a temple in a surfing flick before, and I can relate to standing before the sea and experiencing something spiritual. And there’s no doubt that large bodies of water do something positive to the human psyche.
I’ve body surfed, and boogie boarded; I’ve surfed a rapid on a kayak. I’ve even taken a friend’s longboard out once. (Although it was windy and I couldn’t do much of anything with the waves.) So, surfing remains a great unknown for me.
The only thing I’m familiar with is the adrenaline that would come with catching a wave. I’ve experienced something like it before. Thus, surfing is relegated to dream status. But, in that dream, I imagine myself paddling out over the breakers around age 65. I also happen to be within walking distance of my new beach house.
photo: Teddy Kelley