There are an infinite number of possible paths that may have led to every moment in your life but they all somehow get to the same point. Much like how you always end up with a jumbo set of neon coloured freezer bag clips in your man bag whenever you come home from Ikea no matter which convoluted path round the big blue and yellow shop you take. Some call this fate or destiny some dwell upon the mysteries of Karma others just call it dumb fucking luck.
I went surfing the other day. Not a notable activity particularly, especially on this occasion as it was predicted (by the gods of Magic Seaweed) to be tiny and inconsequential (in the wave department obviously and not my prowess in the water). I fancied some salt water therapy and the clear blue, sunny skies were very tempting on this mid-November afternoon.
When I paddled out it did indeed seem ridiculously small and borderline tedious so I undertook the lengthy (ish) paddle from Cabadelo to the beach at Cova Gala to at least provoke a slight sense of achievement on my spontaneous oceanic expedition.
I paddled past several gaggles of longboarders and *SUPers on my way, none of whom were finding any waves to catch, even with their mighty vessels. I continued on, marvelling at the twinkly blueness of the Atlantic and wondering if there was anything other than Strictly Come Dancing on telly later (not that I hate it. I’d just rather watch something else). Then, just as I was paddling past the first groin at a break called ‘The Hospital’ (so called as it in front of a large government facility full of sick people) I turned seaward to see a single line of swell marching towards me from the northwest.
It wasn’t a two foot wind choppy load of nonsense at all. It was a clean, head high (for dramatic purposes let’s say that is completely true) wall of watery goodness. I stared for a while checking it’s existence to be a reality and turned toward the beach just as it arrived, paddled a couple of times, dropped down the face and surfed one of the nicest, walling, peeling lefts I’ve surfed all year. I paddled back out just as another set came through and I caught another. Once again the wave walling up and peeling beautifully. I grinned a lot and paddled back out. And waited. I then waited for a while longer – the grin gradually slipped from my face and my mind drifted back to the ‘Strictly’ issue. I waited a bit more as the wind slowly picked up, the twinkles turned into choppy lumps and I finally paddled towards the large grey building full of sick people and rode the next crappy closeout to the beach.
If I hadn’t stopped to chat to Olly for seven minutes about tree surgery (and what can go wrong if you don’t concentrate) before leaving Cabril, if I hadn’t bumped into the very short elderly gentleman in Intermarché in the suprisingly crowded toilets, if I had paddled even more lazily from one end of the beach to the other whilst pondering what it is about Anton Du Beck that bothers me so much then that brace of near perfect waves would have just cruised by and hit the beach with nobody having ridden them. This has nothing to do with the butterfly effect of course it’s just about dumb fucking luck. But it was my dumb luck and that is good…
I didn’t surf today but I did surf two perfect waves on Sunday. And the picture isn’t Cabadelo it is Peniche. If you want continuity (or any kind of sense) it’s probably wise to look elsewhere…
*SUP: This means ‘stand up paddle’ boarder. It also can stand for ‘single use plastic’. Both may be relevant.