It was on an Easter Sunday that I caught my first real wave. That day, at my local point break, after many rides in the white wash, I finally dropped into the face of a wave, turned and rode the left all the way to the beach. Eight years ago, I fell in love. On this Easter, that memory got me thinking about my on and off relationship with surfing.
In the beginning, it was sweet, blind love. No matter how the waves were, no matter how I surfed, I always left the beach with salt in my hair and a smile on my face. I had that eternal stoke.
Surfing and I were together for about five years, and my skills had improved. I had moved away from Hawaii, but surfing followed me to Santa Barbara. One day, surfing and I took things to the next level as I missioned it with the boys to Jalama. The waves were head high, as winds literally blew the sand right off the beach. I was nervous because my shoulder had been giving me trouble lately and the surf looked downright scary. But I was with four boys and I wasn’t going to chicken out on them. So I said a quick prayer and headed out.
I paddled for my first wave and, just as I was about to stand, my right shoulder popped out of its socket and a sharp pain shot through my body. I struggled to stay afloat as I attempted to pop my shoulder back in place. I ended up paddling in with my one functional arm, pounding surf and howling winds. I thought I was going to die. A couple of hours later, I was in an emergency room, still in my wetsuit, shoulder still out of place. I was happy to be alive, but pissed that I hadn’t even caught a wave.
Long story short, I had to get surgery and then endure six months of physical therapy. I had a broken shoulder and a broken heart. I spent my landlocked days drawing pictures of waves, watching surf videos and counting down the days till doc okayed me to paddle out. When that day finally came, I was thrilled. I missed surfing so much, and I expected us to pick up right where we left off. Nope – those first few months were frustrating and painful. There were so many times I wanted to just give up surfing for good.
Thinking it would motivate me, I spent what little money I had on a new board. Just a couple months later, it was stolen right off my DP balcony. At this point, I didn’t care anymore. I was going to Italy anyway, where there would be no surf for six months. Surfing and I had had our fun, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I would find a new passion.
Italy was amazing, and I gained a passion for travel, but again I found myself missing surf. When I returned to America, and to the beach, all the love came back. I forgot all the bad memories and surfing and I started over. We were back in the game and it was a stronger bond then ever.
You see, I had forgotten why I fell in love in the first place. I got so wrapped up in trying to surf better and harder that I forgot about the fun. Whatever the love or passion is in your life, it may not always be easy, and you might even get hurt – I have the scars to prove it – but if you find the kind of pleasure that I find in surfing, it’s worth it. Scars always have the best stories behind them anyway.