The Zen of Surfing


Today, I went surfing.

It wasn’t just any “going surfing.”  It’s the first time I’ve been since March, when I tweaked my back, and my first time since my tropical disease (and accompanying arthritis).  Needless to say, I was a little nervous about it.

What if the waves are too big?  What if I can’t pop up?  What if I can’t put weight on my wrists?

To be honest, I almost didn’t go this morning.  But the surf report said “fair” which is excellent for Pacifica. The waves didn’t look huge either, so I went.  And I’m so glad I did.

There were a good number of people in the water, despite there being hardly any waves.  They were small, both in size and number.  But it was so nice to get out, to feel the cold water seeping through my wetsuit and smell the salt water.  I found that I could paddle.  I could get into a wave.  I could pop up (maybe a little more slowly than before), and is seemed like the cold water kept my wrists from hurting.  Or maybe there was a distraction, like riding a wave 🙂

The hardest part was pulling the wetsuit on; once I was in the water, I couldn’t stop smiling.

While I was out there, I heard a woman tell her surfing teacher that she was bored and wanted to head in.  “You want to go in?” he said.  She nodded, and said “There aren’t any waves, so it’s not fun.”

“There’s kind of a Zen to surfing.  You sit out here and take the waves as they come, you have no control over them.  Sometimes there are more, sometimes less, but sitting out here and waiting to see what comes is a big part of surfing.”

I’m pretty sure this is part of what I love about surfing.  That and the rush of getting up on the board 🙂  Sometimes the waves are big, sometimes they’re small, but you have to pay attention to what the ocean is doing when you’re out there on your board.  It’s impossible to will the ocean to make bigger or smaller waves, so you have to take them as they are, and figure out how to work with them.  To paddle over them, to dive under them, or to ride on them while they do their thing.  It is, perhaps, a metaphor for life that I don’t pay much heed to (I, like many people, like to be in control).  That there are sometimes forces beyond your control and you need to find some way to work with them.  Or you could get clobbered by them.

That, and it’s super fun to ride waves 🙂  It was so nice to be back in the water again; I did just fine.

Side note:

It’s no secret that I have not been the best at keeping this blog up to date.  Some big things (some of them rather time consuming) have been going down, and I’ve been feeling fairly stressed out about them.  These include:

– Planning a wedding.  In Boston.  For the Spring.  Very exciting 🙂  But also time consuming until we set a date etc.  Also trying not to turn into Bridezilla.

– Getting ready for TechWomen and working out an internship plan for “my” Emerging Leader.  (She’s awesome.)

– Busyness at work.  In front of computer all day = not wanting to be in front of computer all night.

I’m optimistic that my posting frequency will increase in the near future. 🙂

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