– stripping surfing back down to its most elemental form

What is Surfing #3: Surfing as fun

On Labour Day I paddled out at one of our more crowded right handers to enjoy some small waves on the log. The weather over the past few days has reminded me of Florida with big black clouds, freakish thunder and lightning that made the dog tremble for hours, and hellish downpours. Luckily the wind was offshore and the long period small kine swell sent us some perfect loggin’ and fishin’ waves. I surfed for three hours, catching wave after wave and making the paddle back up the point, only to be interrupted by another perfect little peak.

I obsess with surfing the same way as I know many of you do. A while back one commenter called me emo. Yes it’s true; I’m a bit on the emo side of things and tend to take stuff a little too seriously sometimes. So when I surf I’m often not in the ideal state of mind -the state of mind where everything is pushed back from your consciousness and instinct is allowed to take over. Instead, I’m thinking about my style, the guy next to me, why I fell on that last wave. Ever notice that guy that always seems to be paddling for some invisible peak and then when the peak suddenly appears he’s on it effortlessly? That guy is usually working off instinct and not thinking about bullshit and egotistical shite.

I surfed with a guy like that yesterday. He was probably in his late 60’s. You could tell from his appearance and demeanor that he’d spent his life working with his hands. A perpetual smile on his face, the guy paddled circles around the pack, picking off mysto peaks and hootin’ and hollerin’ down the line. His style was classic. He’d paddle left towards the peak, drop in late and fade right with a low stance, front foot extended to the nose. He leaned all the way back till his back was resting on the face and then he’d get a little cover up on his head. Once the micro barrel was achieved he’d stand up, pump twice and get a nice little off the top. As he paddled back out he’d hoot at others and encourage them to paddle for waves. We shared a couple of waves, me on the log perched up towards the nose out on the face, him back in the pocket picking a high line waiting for me to cut back so he could go out front.

“You’re having a blast on that little fish” I says.

“It’s all about having fun. If it means getting into a tiny barrel on a belly board then that’s what it takes” he replied with a shit-eating grin.

Surfing is all about having fun. I mean isn’t that why we do it? Sure it’s a clichéd statement, and it’s probably been used as an excuse to sell us t-shirts. But the bottom line is that there’s no reason to take our surfing obsessions too seriously as in the end it is simply a way to spend our free time, connect with nature and have fun with friends. Since my session with the older fish rider on Labour Day I feel completely inspired to surf for a lifetime. And to surf any board that comes my way, and any size waves, micro of double overhead, clean or choppy, every single time I get a chance. Our lives are filled with stressors and social pressures and surfing can easily be an escape from our daily toil if we relax and let our instincts take over. Speaking of work, I best get back to it.


• Category: diy,

3 Responses »

  1. Rick,
    good to meet you yesterday at the moose. just briefly looked over the site. very interesting.
    I’ll stay in touch. feel free to email me at the address above.

  2. nice story, love the photo too…looks like he has a walking stick!
    surfing is all about fun…we used to always joke that the winner of the contest
    should be the guy who has the biggest smile, or is the most stoked…they could
    be able to (by now) work out physiologically who got the most stoked from
    a surf (retina scans for example) and give that person the prize!

    If you want to see a film that is all about fun, check out ‘the inner most limits of pure fun’ by george greenough.

  3. Nice insight man. You often see these agro guys with big egos trying to dominate a break. Doesn’t look like much fun to me. Give me nice clean waves and smiles all round any day.