Losing the Stoke to Surf

I have not been surfing for over three weeks now … and oddly, I have not gotten the usual “gotta get in the water” itch that would normally accompany such a stretch of dry living.

Should I be worried??? Have I lost something magical? Lost the urge or drive to surf?

I had to find out, since this may inevitably signal a fate far worse than moving to the frozen wastelands of the NorthWest Territories. I watched surf movies, I sniffed surf wax, I listened to Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter … I even played Kelly Slater’s Surfing video game … all to no positive yield towards the surf and the ocean. Did I get sick of surfing after only 10 years of intermittent sessions?

Did I overdose on surfing after that great series of swells that hit the south shores of Oahu as of late? I don’t have an answer yet, but I was starting to get concerned … even panicky that the one thing that passionately drove me on a daily basis may be slipping away, or worse … has slipped away! There was nothing in particular holding me back from being able to surf: not a demanding job, not a nagging spouse, not the pressures of school and studies, not even a physical condition that prevents me from paddling out.

In fact, I have a truly flexible new career, a more than supportive and equally enthused-about-surfing spouse, a couple of degrees completed and stored in my back pocket, and I am in physical condition that could rival my 20 year old self from so long ago. So what is it? I realized that surfing had become a routine for me – part of the things I perform on a daily basis without much thought. And as incredibly lucky as I am for having such a great privilege allowed to me at this stage in my life, I realized that I needed to step away from surfing, at least momentarily, in order to gain the appreciation that I once held for it. I just needed a break … to recompose and re-approach surfing. Get my bearings on what surfing means to me once more.

Although I am still in the process of this discovery, I did realize one important thing about surfing and myself: I love longboards, and the style and lines associated with the classic style of longboarding. After experimenting with a variety of board styles and board sizes, I have returned to the drop-knee style of surfing … the long drawn lines … and noseriding. Don’t get me wrong, I like shortboarding for training purposes, and for larger pitchier waves … it teaches me to ride anything and everything on a constant basis. But for my money, I prefer my classic 9’2″ … arched back, and hands clasped together behind me on a long clean wave.

I also realized that I need to moderate my surfing. I need to ensure that I still appreciate the beauty and freedom of surfing by not allowing me to get too complacent with the freedoms I have to surf on any given day. As I review this aspect of my life, I have become very aware of the special things I experience on a daily basis, and have begun to hold them with a much deeper sense of appreciation.

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