The Wisdom of Surfing

Surfing isn’t my thing.

No palpitation nor an urge to check tour packages online when I see the exhilarating look on my friends’ faces while they ride (and struggle) on their surf boards.

I’m glad for them.

After all, the world is on the brink of destruction and they will be the last generation to experience the waves without the trash.

Baler, to the North. Siargao, to the South.

These two destinations come in mind when surfing is brought up among friends who, finally, took action rather than endlessly broadcasting Surfing as one of their bucket lists on FaceBook that no one actually cares about.

In my case, Baler is closer.

Got an invite. Said Yes. Rode at midnight.

Arrived at Sabang Beach after an eight hour blur of darkness and momentary pee breaks.

First try was a disaster.

Panicked, I took time to balance standing up, but the waves were forbidding.

It only have one rule: stand or fall.

No in-betweens.

It was cruel, denying entry to those it deems unworthy to enjoy its otherworldly ‘high.’

My mistake was looking down upon it because I’ve already decided surfing isn’t my thing. And the waves can smell a fraud from miles away.

With a newfound respect to the waves and heightened determination, second try was a success.

The rush of the water beneath the surf board, the pull of the current, the sudden lightness as I got carried towards the shore... it was surreal.

This must be flying.

Or, much better.

After that, I would never be the same person again.

Here are three surfing wisdom:

Surfing opens up the spirit
Most people who look for signs are actually waiting for a wake up call.

While ‘signs’ are cute and poetic, wake up calls are far effective as they turn your world upside down.

A wake up call to quit that God-awful job, cut ties with shitty friends, leave your hometown, kick selfish partners, etc.

Surfing could be one of those effective wake-up calls owing to several things.

First, the change in environment.

Second, the reward in pulling it off, which results to renewed self-confidence.

You CAN make it alone.

Lastly, the simple act of going for it.

You took initiative and action.

That in itself is a tremendous achievement as beginnings are always hard.

Surfing first.

Next, the world.

Surfing is no contest
For first timers, the one true enemy is not the waves nor the lack of balance.

It is the self-pressure to get it right away on the first try.

Because that would be a cool story to brag whenever topics of Y-O-L-O get brought up in one of your boring get-togethers in your late 40s.

I was guilty of it.

And so, the waves punished me for being an insolent brat.

I fell on my face, smacked hard by salt water.

My eyes watered against the itch.

For first timers, the trick is to listen to the briefing, do your best interpretation and acknowledge the joys of the upcoming unknown, whether you stand or fall.

And don’t mind what your friends are doing.

What matters is to savor the first time you stood your ground, not against the waves but to your illusion of control.

The illusion of perfection...

The illusion of superiority...

And you will never forget that feeling as you move on with life.

Beginner surfing sessions usually take 2 hours. So, you can always fine tune your stand.

Surfing is joy unlike anything else

Clothed in fresh shirt.

Tan glowed in the afternoon sun.

The aftermath of surfing will be one of those vulnerable moments when you evaluate your life in silence, with beer in your hand. (Mine was mango shake as beer makes me gas like an unchecked sewage pipe).

How far you’ve come, the value of this moment with your friends and a pulse-quickening memory to be reminisced a few months later on.

Surfing didn’t only make you become realistic with your self, but introduced you to a new kind of joy none but riding the waves could’ve brought you.

Like T’Challa taking back Wakanda. Simba, Pride Rock. Mr Bean, Mr Teddy.

In short, the joy in earning your stripe.

If surfing is not realistic to do right away, plan for it.

The waves couldn’t care less if it’s today or the day after tomorrow.

It doesn’t care what you’ll be wearing, how many likes you’re going to get in social media or if you’ve been sticking with your New Year resolutions.

It only cares that you paid it a visit.

And a ride.

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