Some times when you get into the sea everything is just slightly out of phase. You seem to be duck-diving 20 times to get out back as everybody else glides elegantly past through unseen calm channels. Then you find yourself too close to shore so the bigger sets land on your head filling your sinus cavities with brine and your memories with shame. Or you’re too far out so you paddle like a 1970’s egg whisk and don’t catch anything except maybe a small whiff of humble pie. Continue reading “Out of phase…”
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. Continue reading “The butterfly effect. Again…”
Of course not – that would be ridiculous.
Any sentient being approaching 50 years of age must feel the looming presence of their own mortality. The searing ache in every feeble, wasting muscle in your body, the befuddled confusion at pedestrian crossings where clarity of thought once reigned. The smell of decay when you change your socks (if you can still reach your own feet)… Continue reading “Can you learn to surf at 50?”
Life has changed for me a lot in the last decade or two.
Once I was a flaming ball of tumbleweed careering through life’s Wild West; travelling, partying and surfing wherever and whenever I could. I had energy, light and life. I had hair. Continue reading “Mid-life crisis in Senegal”
I’m not sitting here contemplating the futility of a political leaning. I’m not teetering towards the unoppressive embrace of Engels with a Fidel shaped tear on my cheek or marching brusquely in patent leather knee-highs to a Gestapoian goosestep. I’m simply talking surfing…
Continue reading “Left or right. That is a question…”
I was sitting peacefully on my own in the sea a couple of days ago (on a surfboard obviously – I didn’t go for a wander along the beach and think ‘Oh – that looks like a nice damp spot for a moment of quiet non-upright semi-immersed introspection’) when somebody paddled out and sat next to me.
I prepared myself for the usual half nod and uncomforable silence that stands for “I am a surf-man and I will take my rightful place in this hierarchy of two!”. I was met however with a broad smile and a cheery greeting. We exchanged names, lifestyle choices and then discussed our personal decision to surf a smaller quieter peak than join the plethera of surf practioners at other ‘better’ waves.
Continue reading “Into the snakepit”
As the Rip Curl Pro approaches again it reminds me of the first time I paddled into the lineup at a professional surfing event.
It was at the beginning of September in the autumn of 2000 and the World Championship Tour of the Association of Surfing Professionals had finally come to Portugal. In fact it had come to my home break of Cabadelo in Figueira de Foz. A beautiful day as I recall but the swell was junky and the wind had turned onshore. Difficult conditions for a newcomer like me but of course I did have the home advantage.
Rob Machado was making it look effortless on his way to a well earned win, hitting that tiny crumbling lip with an ease and grace that only a man of his Catweazley beard skills and surfing experience can produce. And myself? I was starting to look like an amateur, floundering around in the white water like a rubber-wrapped drowning rodent. So when the loudspeakers finally made the following announcement my fate was sealed…
“Can the idiot in the purple wetsuit on the orange minimal please leave the competition zone. If not you will be removed…”
I didn’t surf today. Or in fact in September, 2000.
As Kelly Slater wins an unprecedented 11th world surfing title at the Rip Curl Search event in San Francisco, hope for all middle aged, balding men surely has to augment. Continue reading “Kelly Slater wins World Championship Tour 2011”