One in a Million
9:00 am. Summer.
A surf family slowly rolls out of bed, throws on swimsuits, barely stopping for breakfast. The tide is low and the waves are breaking. 9:00 is early in the summer. So, of course, everyone is exhausted. Ten minutes later, they are at the beach.
The sand is cool and uncrowded this early in the day. The surf family pauses not, but walks right down to the ocean. The waves are smooth, glassy, and many. The water is clearer than air.
The three surfers on three boards paddle out, past the breakers, past the huge pounding surf breaking right on top of them. When they reach the sandbar, their arms are jelly. They don’t pause.
We ride wave after wave, small ripples to the largest waves ever. Once or twice all three of us are standing on the same wave. We must have surfed a hundred, total. Maybe even each.
This day is one in a milliion: one day of beautiful waves in a sequence of a million just like them. One day and a million waves.
Is it worth it, then, dragging ourselves out of bed, paddling miles (maybe) out to the distant sandbar, repeating this process after every wave?
Your answer is two words: The Moment.
The Moment every surfer experiences, dropping into a wave, the moment of total euphoria, total adrenaline and excitement. The Moment is when you know that you’ve conquered a wave just on the edge of your ability. As you ride down the surface of the wave, seconds seem like minutes, and The Moment continues, until the wave slows down and you plunge into the water. The bigger the wave, the better. And every wave you surf, you get The Moment all over again. For a dedicated surfer, it is all worth it: the long journey out, every dollar spent on surboard wax, every missed wave: it is all for The Moment. Every time, you experience it all over again as if for the first time. The Moment never gets old, never gets tiring.
I don’t know about every other surfer, but for me, surfing is not about competition, but the thrill every time I catch a wave. The exhilaration of riding a wave of pure energy, total power. Surfing, and any great surfer will agree, is not just a sport, not just a lifestyle, but a dream, a waking dream. And not a nightmare, either. Except for the terrible crashes every surfer is destined to make once in a while. But I’ve been lucky, so far. I keep surfing, keep riding my dream across the surface of the water. But don’t take my word for it: you have to find out for yourself. Grab a board, dive into the surf, and search for The Moment.
© 2010 SurferJo