The Lonely Surfer
Alone I sat, sometimes waiting for the sun to rise, sometimes in the twilight of night. My favorite time to be on the ocean was evening, for I hated the night, the loneliness of darkness, and so alone I sat on that calm sea, the sun fading behind me below the horizon, on a board I sat, back in those days most boards were still made of Koa a wood found in Hawaii. The original boards called, papa he’u in the native language and would measure about 15 feet long and were very heavy. And so I would sit waiting for the ocean to erupt into a massive, raging wave, that would be so demanding of my body and mind that I would have no time to feel alone or dread the night, but to ride it, ignore it ( not really an option, ignoring it) or perhaps to die.
But sometimes it was best when the ocean was calm, for it was then, I could hear the sound of my own mind, surfing the universe of thoughts, dreams, fears and the unknown. The ocean was and has always been to me, the personification of the unknown, especially at night. I would often wonder what swam just beneath my feet. Perhaps only a few small fish, a squid, a jelly fish, or maybe? Something much more threatening, perhaps a shark? Out for an evening meal. The ocean both scared me and intrigued me, made me come back again and again, especially at twilight. For as the night grew darker, the ocean, and its’ hidden mysteries grew deeper , and more daring, daring me to stay a minute longer, waiting, waiting to see, to see what danger, there might be. To me, it was life made solid, tangible, to be won or lost on a two-minute ride.
At times, I would intentionally go out on my board when I knew the tide was going out and the likelihood of any good waves, demanding to be ridden was remote. I did this because I wanted the calmness, I wanted the depths to talk to me. It was like being alone in my room late at night, when the rustle of leaves or a stray animal would make a sound outside my window, ah, but that I could explain. But this was the ocean, the endless unknown ocean, and I would hear sometimes, sometimes faintly, sometimes very near, the splash of sea life, a porpoise? a fish? a shark! ? Or… unlike the land, I felt there were no solid answers to the night sounds of the ocean. And that to me it was like the mysteries of life, no solid answers. But as I sat there alone, it was almost like I could feel the lack of uncertainty, almost touch it, hold it, and in some way have some control over it. I could sink or swim, not a metaphor anymore, but a fact, if a wave came I could rise or fall, there was, to a degree, some control. I liked that.
But what about the actual surfing? Well, there is nothing like catching the big wave, and the amazing feeling of a tube ride, hearing only the roar of the ocean as the wave breaks over your heard leaving just you and the small opening left underneath the breaking wave. And again, alone, me against one of the mightiest force’s God ever created, the ocean, and its’ waves. You will not control them, the best you can hope to do is ride them, and hopefully to the safety of the land. But at times they will take you under, spin you around like a piece of cloth in a giant washer and then slam your body against the bottom, sometimes knocking the breath out of you, and you know at that instant that in some small way you have come face to face with death. But you rise to the top and let the rest of the wave take you safely home.
Some believe as humans crawled from the sea. I have no reason to doubt that, and no reason to doubt that it was God’s plan for us to do so, for how many of us can truly say, no matter how far from the sea we may live, that in some way we are drawn to the ocean, a need to feel it, see it, and on some level understand it. Like coming home, it waits for us, just like it did for the lonely surfer.
Tags: benaeth the waters, big wave surfing, lonely surfing, mysteries of the deep, ocean surfing, ocean waves, oceans, surfing