Getting Stronger

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

Finally!

Things really *clicked* for me this past Sunday.    The waves were kind of mushy so I could really let them toss me around without worrying about getting injured.   The water was warm and I made a new surfing buddy: 13 year old Trevor.  He and I both caught a wave together and I learned it was his first wave on his new 5 foot board. And it was my first real wave since I had the baby.

“Well, Trevor. You just witnessed a miracle. I finally caught a wave and rode that sucker aaaall the way in!”

‘Me too. I have been on an 8 foot board for two years and I am finally catching waves on this one!’

“Your board looks pretty short. I like the blinding orange color.”

‘My mom likes it too because she thinks sharks will associate it with a fishing lure.  I got this board for Christmas.’

Trevor’s Mom=Cool.  I would like to talk to her sometime about shark psychology and keeping her son disguised with his surfboard.  The shark is thinking Hmmm a 5 foot fishing lure.  I’ll wait until the 8 foot fish goes after that lure and then I’ll have a feast!  

Trevor and I really chatted it up as we surfed the pier together.  I was having such a fun time that I forgot that I usually have  a hard time catching waves by the pier.  And sometimes I get  a little intimidated by the locals.  So it was a double bonus, I’m back catching waves and I don’t have to trip out surfing by the pier anymore!

I love how the ocean eliminates the dysfunctional human habit of comparison.  When you are out in the water, you have no idea what another person’s story is.  I can easily connect to any age, any culture, any gender, any level of experience and so on.

We are all disguised by our wetsuits and boards. A level playing field where are usual differences are instantly eliminated and we are left with the pure joy of being present together in the miraculous sea .

I wonder what Trevor’s mom would think of these disguises?

Until next time.

Relatively Stoked.

Posted: July 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ok. So in my last post I very adamant about feeling stoked by only catching a wave on a surfboard from the outside.  But today I am wondering…because I didn’t catch a wave on the outside at all but I had some pretty awesome experiences out in the ocean.  This was all preceded with talking about body surfing with my friend David.  I admitted to him that I had actually never really body surfed on an outside wave.  So I wasn’t really sure if that stoked feeling was different from the one I get standing on a board.

My friend Nicole from highschool is in town for our 20th reunion tomorrow.  She asked me if I would take her out surfing.  I decided that I would try and make her first experience surfing a pleasant one.

I have been given so many amazing experiences by my surfing friends, it feels only right to just pass that right along.  I will never ever forget all of my amazing firsts…none of which would have occurred if it hadn’t been for a few key friends of mine.

So I met Nicole and her family down by dog beach at about 5:30 pm. I decided to hold little  Morghen while I walked out into the water with Nicole and our 8 foot board.  Morghen was very talkative and pointing to alot of things in the waves.  I let the waves gently  splash her and me and I was filled with double gratitude:  towards my child as well as the thrilling force of the ocean.  Leah was body surfing right next me and Nicole was bravely walking out towards the waves.

“The first thing I want you to do, Nicole, is just ride a wave in on the board and don’t try to get up or anything.  Just feel the surge of the ocean move you towards shore.”

This seemed easy for Nicole and she glided into shore on her belly.  “Nice!”

“OK. This time, if you feel like, just stand up.”

It took a few times and finally, with some furious paddling, Nicole gained momentum and stood up.

“YES!”

I was not on that wave but I was definitely stoked for her.  As stoked as if I were on the wave?

No, I think that there must be different shades of feeling stoked.  There is the stoked feeling you get when you see your child enjoy the ocean on their own. There is the stoked feeling you get when you  are boogie boarding or body surfing and there is the stoked feeling you get when you witness your friend of 20 years catch their first wave in your home break.

I think I am learning to really enjoy the ocean in many ways.

So let me say it differently.  So far in my few oceanic experiences, my favorite shade of feeling stoked is when I am standing up on my board on the face of a nice wave.

Yeah.

Return

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Today I experienced a joyful moment.  I gazed into the ocean and saw Leah (8) going under neath the waves.  I think I actually did a double take.  And when she emerged, she was not crying, was not running for shore…she was infact very content, happy, excited.  She dove in again…and again.

Perhaps for our family, learning  surfing is a life-long activity…so we like to take it real, real slow.  When you are a baby, you play in the sand.  When you can toddle, you put your ankles in.  When you are 5 you go up to your waist, when you are 8 you put your head under for the first time and then (if you are like me) you catch your first wave when you are thirty.

I plan on being on this planet awhile.  Perhaps when I am 90 I’ll get tubed.

I have been hesitant to write about surfing since our second daughter, Morghen Marie was burn August 27th.  I am a changed person since giving birth to her.  Birth is a transformational experience (if you want it to be) and it certainly changed me this time around.  I feel different and I fear that my writing will be out of sync.  But today was so lovely, I can’t help it,

So I’m back….Margaret version 2.

The water was the warmest I had ever felt.  I was “skinning” it and there was no sharp intake of air as my body made contact with the ocean. The waves were small and harmless, I still can’t pop up very fast….my body is still gaining strength since giving birth August 27th, 2011 at 11 in the morning.  So when I wiped out, it did not kick my ass like it can, it washed me clean and I paddled out for more gentle lashings from the sea.

One of these days, I will get up in time, slide down the face of a wave and hear that lovely skipping sound my board makes along the face of a wave.  But more importantly, I will feel the stoke that you only feel when you truly catch a wave from the outside while standing on a board.

I am looking forward to this moment.  Tomorrow I will go out again. And again.

My Favorite Surfing Buddy

Posted: March 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

John Katchur Checking on the Sharks

John with Adobe Photo Shark

It is now March, 2011.  In two months John and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage.

And two years of surfing together.

The Dolphins Call Me Out

Posted: March 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

This morning the dolphins were back.  John called me from the cliff. “The dolphins are out here.  They are really close to shore.  You should come see them.”

I walked out to the end of our street and was greeted by a sparkling horizon and warm sunny day.  The dolphins were already gone by the time I made it out. ..maybe later.  I took another moment and watched the calm ocean waves gently lap the rocky shore.  I could almost paddle out in that.  It’s so gentle.

I went home and the three (well four) of us walked up to the OB Rec Center for the 63rd Annual Kite Festival.  Every year the Kiwanis Club sponsors a free event where anyone can come and make a kite (supplies are free!) and then walk with their kites in a parade up Newport Ave.   It was fun seeing many familiar faces and enjoying the sunshine.    Children were running every which way willing their little kites to do more than just skip along clumsily on the ground.  But the weather only resulted in the school lawn being peppered with little white home-made kites and families running to go get more lemonade.   That little thought came back.  Little wind means for a nice calm ocean….

We walked home following all the festivities.  “I’m gonna go look at the surf.”  Before I lost my nerve I went out.  This time I saw the flash of dorsal fin and shiny dolphin body break the surface.  I practically ran home. “I’m going surfing!”

I stuffed my body into my wetsuit and giddily put on the booties.  I didn’t feel fear and trepidation or worry.  I knew I had made some sort of pact to not surf during my pregnancy but something had shifted.  The green light was back.

As I walked towards Peskies, I saw my reflection in a car door window.  I’m round.

I took my time walking with the board down the boat ramp- wondering if the green light would change….the water met my legs and it felt absolutely delicious.

I strapped on the leash  laid down.   My muscles were a little weak and my tummy was a little squashed but overall I felt great.  I was careful to sit up when I needed to and go at a slow, easy pace.

A small wave broke in front of me and I enjoyed the cool spray on my face, the mild force of the ocean energy.

There was one other surfer waiting for waves.  “Good luck finding a wave.” he smiled.

‘I just want to visit with the dolphins.’ I replied.

I made out at least two dolphins playing around but it was tough for me to assess how far out they were.  I paddled closer and saw that they were very dark in color.  Curious, I paddled closer. But it seemed the more I paddled, the further they were.  Then I realized they were actually swimming away from me.  OK guys, have a good one. Then they were gone.

I sat on my board and let this whole unexpected experience soak in.   I was surprised how warm I felt. And relaxed.    My little propeller was 17 weeks big- the second trimester when women often feel like they are finally adjusting to being pregnant.

I also felt like I was the only person out in the ocean and it was wonderful.  I sat there blissfully for a few more minutes before making my decision to go in.

I paddled in towards shore a little bit and waited for some white water to take me in.

But lo and behold a little wave approached and I was able to paddle into it.  I slowly got up to my knees, being careful not to fall and then stood up.  I didn’t have the balance issues like before.    My ride ended and I hopped down.  I had actually caught a little wave there!  Maybe this is how I will surf when I am an old woman.

I hiked up the boat ramp filled with happiness.  Maybe being pregnant just means I have to surf a little differently than I’m used to.  Maybe I can take pictures on big days and go out with the girls on the little days!

I bounced home.

Shneza enjoying the show at the Stubb Jetty.

One day in the late summer Lori, Jodee and I decided on an all girl sunset surf down at Ab.  Jodee  also brought her friend Michelle who was  a boogie boarder.  Lori owns a Jeep which is a perfect surf-mobile.  We threw the boards on top and the 4 of us piled in.  It was ideal sunset conditions- no wind, warm weather and the waves were perfect- maybe 2-3 foot and rolling nicely.  It was Jodee’s first time down at the cliffs.  I paddled out with her and tried to share some knowledge without sounding like a know-it-all…especially since I was pretty much a beginner myself!

‘I think I’m going to surf the inside for awhile, Margaret.’

“I’ll surf with you Jodee. Let’s catch this next wave together!”

A wave came and Jodee popped up like a pro!  I decided to watch her take her first cliff ride all the way in.  ‘Whooo!’  I could actually feel her smiling as she paddled back out.  I decided to paddle to the outside with Lori.  Jodee and Michelle stayed inside.

And it was one of those rare sessions.  I must have caught a thousand waves that evening.  Rights and lefts….gentle rolling long rides.  Lots of paddling and getting totally stoked.  Eventually Jodee paddled out to where Lori and I were.

“Welcome!”

‘Thanks, Lori.  This is so beautiful down here. I can’t believe it!’  As if on cue a pod of dolphins cruised by the horizon.

We all sat and sheepishly grinned at each other.

Hours passed as we helped one another into a wave or caught a party wave together.  The sun reluctantly began to melt into the ocean and we knew it was time to catch one more.  I had a little trouble getting that last one and pretty much had to paddle almost all the way in.  Normally this annoys me but I was so stoked, anything I did seemed to feel blissful!

A voice greeted us as we made our way up the cliff.

“Beautiful out!”

I looked down and saw a couple of surfers climbing up after us.  I found out one was named Robbie.

As usual I started babbling to a complete stranger. ‘I must have caught like a thousand waves. I love it when it’s like this!’ I felt like I knew him well just because we had all been out in the water together.

As we walked the path towards our cars I learned that Robbie was a surfing coach and teacher.  He’s probably a pretty good surfer….I thought.

“You should all come up to North County and surf at San Onofre.”

‘That sounds fun. What’s your surf school website?’

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

That evening began an email effort between Robbie and I for a surfing reunion.  Unfortunately it never happened and then Robbie moved away to New York.

Fortunately he and I remained in contact via Facebook and (seven months later) I was able to have a nice conversation with him regarding big wave surfing.  Even better I asked him permission to share our conversation, he said yes and here it is…

Margaret: My baby belly has shot my balance!

Robbie: Get an Indo board. I use one every day and take it with me to the gym too. I do all my free weight stuff on it as well as practice squatting into a tube stance and pigdogging.

M: You ARE a good teacher

R: Oh, thanks

M: Maybe I can get a few months in after all. My session on Thursday was hilarious. Nose diving after every take off. I have thought about becoming a “sweeper” but it looks very difficult

R: Before you become a janitor, be a great surfer or keep it in the bay or you will become a HUGE liability to yourself, your baby and everyone in the lineup.

M: LOL janitor! Are they so terrible? Sometimes they let me know when a wave is coming.

R: Most of them are people that never learned to surf properly and with that big board and high profile, it’s dangerous. There are a few, however, that do it well and are NOT goons and should NOT be run over and sent home.

M: I saw a dude on Youtube sweeping at Mavericks. Crazy…

R: Gary Linden made that board. And all the Mavericks guys HATE them, Especially the Santa Cruz West Side boys.

M: Have you surfed Mavericks before?

R: Yes, from 1995 until my injury in early 2009

M: Is it really a 45 minute paddle out?

R: Depends, but usually, yes.

M: Wow.

R: It’s the only way to truly understand a breaks dynamics, channels, “safe zones”, rocks, rip, current, etc.

M: I can’t even begin to imagine the strength and sheer guts it takes to do that…Not many people can claim that me thinks…

R: I did it because Mavericks was the biggest wave in North America and didn’t include a huge trip. Just 9 hours away. Todos is the same, it’s only 75 miles away (and a 8 mile boat/PWC ride away)  I could drive to both same day and stay at friends houses when it was on.

M: Fantastic

R: But now I have rotator cuff, knee, neck, low back and hip injuries to work on, hence the 5 day per week gym trips. Gonna get back in shape for next winter. I want to tow again

M: That was my next question…if you’ve done that

R: I broke my 60 ft cherry at Cortez in 2008 and want to go bigger. I love Nelscott reef in Oergon, it gets huge.

M: How is that even possible…

R: You have to watch the maps, learn about bathymetry and weather patterns. Guys have gone past the 75 boundary, in 2009. 75 feet is massive. It doesn’t seem real.

M: For me catching my first 10 foot wave in November literally changed my life. Did the 60 foot wave change you?

R: Yes, it made me appreciate how mortal I was and that I could die doing this and not seeing my little boy anymore could be a reality but it still didn’t stop me. I had to get really hurt to stop…and “stopping” is a temporary thing.

M: Was it a broken back or something?…i know it was a major injury

R: I ruptured L-5 and L-7 in my back, compressed C-5 and 6 in my neck, torn my rotator cuff in my right shoulder, and ruptured both of my ear drums.and torn my MCL and ACL in my left knee

M: Was it a big wave?

R:Spencer says it was between 64 and 68 feet, but I hit a piece of chop the size of an Escalade and fell 20 feet into the pit and got sucked over.

M: Oh man.  Where was this?

R: Nelscott Reef, in Oregon.

M: I am realizing your injury was not that long ago….You must have made a speedy recovery.

R: It was not a speedy recovery. I live in chronic pain.  Especially here in the cold weather.  I just love to surf. It keeps me sane so I bear the pain.

M: You’re probably still healing really…I have watched video of this wave called Shipstern Bluff…the wipeout looks fairly horrendous….

R:I LOVE Shippies! Such an amazing wave but…you pay the tax when you eat it.

M: It looks like it drops you right into a weird spot right at the end.  Shippies…you make it sounds so sweet

R: Deep channel, if you make it. You pop up near a huge rock if you don’t.  Here is a clip of Hippo at Shippies a few years back-watch the step. It comes up and it sometimes catches you off guard.  Imagine driving in your car at 80 mph and having the ground open up 10 feet in front of you. Then pushed 25-30 feet underwater, then dragged 75 yards inside. I love Shippies but copped a brutal flogging there a few years back. Got deep pits though

M: Where was your accident?

R: Nelscott reef, in Oregon.

I looked at the clock and realized I had to get ready to go teach.  I had end our “session” before I was pulled into another fascinating exchange!

M: This has been an awesome chat…I really appreciate you taking me on a virtual surf adventure with you.

R: Yep, any time.

Following our chat, I watched the clip Robbie posted of Shipstern Bluff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyUKtGbvW4s

The giant step is mesmerizing but personally I’m going to stick with dolphins and sunsets for now.

11 Weeks: The Time Has Come

Posted: February 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

“You gonna surf with us in the morning?”

We had just dropped the kids off at school It was Wednesday.

‘Usual spot?’

“8:30ish.”

San Diego had enjoyed 2 weeks of beautiful surf and weather.  The waves had been consistently GREAT for over 10 days.  They were on the big side which would have been wonderful news for me if I hadn’t been growing a human being inside of me that is…..I was not interested in taking any unnecessary risks for my baby.  I had a desire to surf. But my instinct to protect was naturally much greater.  There was no conflict for me here.  My body knew it’s priorities.  So when the swell finally died down a bit, my surfing instincts began to give my growing body the green light to paddle around a little bit.

‘Definitely….See you out there, Jimbo!”

Surfing while pregnant (even on a small day) requires considerable preparation- especially surfing some place like Ab or Sub.  My biggest concern was not being fueled enough so I actually packed a back pack stuffed with honey sesame sticks, water and cold beef stroganoff.  It’s yummy. Trust me.

John waxed the boards for us and we strapped them to the car.

The morning was, to put plainly, stunning.  These warm winter days in San Diego are incredible.  The sky is crystal clear, no wind, empty beaches. Paradise.

Empty Surf? No way.  Sub and Ab were both entertaining about 20 surfers each.

Rats!

We hiked down our path and I immediately noticed that my center of gravity was shifted as compared to two weeks prior.  Even though I had only gained 8 lbs, everything somehow felt…different.

It was then I realized that with every breath I took, another miraculous change was occurring within.

Everything felt familiar and yet new.

Bang!

“Sorry Surfboard!” I had mis-gauged a step and my surfboard took a knock.  Take your time, Margaret.  No rush. I slowly scaled down the side of the cliff with board in hand, rock cliff  in the other.  Step, step, hop. Finally some sand beneath the toes.   I was breathing heavy already.

I stretched a little bit, ate a few sesame sticks and stepped into the big liquid salty energy mass.

As I paddled out, I noticed how heavy my arms felt.  And my stomach didn’t like being laid on so much.  So I had to sit up every few strokes and rest.  But this didn’t work very well when I needed to paddle through a breaking wave.  A set came through and I had to force myself to paddle hard to get through.  It took every ounce of strength- I was grunting like the first time I had paddled out on a big day at Sub….

Finally I made it out-breathing hard and shivering from the cold.  Jim, Pete, John, Lori and myself. We were all there.  It had been a long time. (Horrors: months!)

Jim gave me a heads up. “This wave is you, Margaret.”

I paddled hard and caught it perfectly. I popped up but my sense of balance sent confusing messages to my legs.  For some reason the message my body got was to nose dive off the board and into the face of the wave. I tumbled around a little bit before surfacing and heaving my body (which felt like it weighed a thousand pounds) back onto the board.

The cold water felt somewhat refreshing but the disappointment was greater.  I turned my board and quickly had to turtle through a sizeable wave.   Lori appeared beside me. ‘This was way bigger than I anticipated. Geez.  How are you?’

“Apparently unsteady on my feet…I had that wave! I’m going to go see what John is up too.” I paddled towards Sub where John sat amidst the pack.  ‘I hate to say this, honey, but you shouldn’t be over here.’  He looked at me with worry.  ‘These guys are surfing aggressively today.’  I turned and paddled back towards Lori.

I decided to hang out in the channel a little bit and catch my breath.  Then I started shivering again.

I began to worry about doing too much.  The hike, the cold, the paddling on my belly.  The agro surfers.   What about bacteria in the water? Is that harmful to the baby?

Then I felt a sense of relief.  I knew then that I was temporarily….done.  Red light.

Perhaps people surf for different reasons but I think it hits everyone a little different. And for me surfing has been  about uncovering my authentic self.  It promotes a feeling of absolute personal freedom.  I am able to forget about silly little things that, before being in the water, I was actually worried about.  It’s a meditation. A tool to attain balance.

My body’s big job right now is to house and protect a developing human being.      I am conscious of everything pertaining to my body right now- what I eat, how much rest I get, what I expose myself too.  And there is no forgetting about this when I am out in the water.  Surfing and worrying don’t work for me.  When it’s just me, it’s different.

Thank you ocean for the gifts you have given me the past 18 months. 

Confidance,

Strength,

Courage,

Adventure,

Gratitude,

and Love for Life.

When I caught *the Big One, I  swallowed the sea.

And it was full of life

to experience

everywhere I am.

With each moment

Each movement.

Each breath.

The ocean has  turned me

into

we.

We San Diegans have been waking up to gorgeous sparkling days for the past week.  Yesterday I dropped John off at a gig in Hillcrest.

“You should go surfing.  It’s so beautiful out.”

‘I think I will!’  Should I?  I haven’t been in the water in 7 weeks.  How will it feel laying on my belly on my surfboard?

It was about 10 A.M. and I was craving pepperoni pizza.  Whatever I plan to do, I need some fuel.  I wonder where I can get pizza this early? I drove up 7th ave and saw Whole Foods Market. Perfect.   Sometimes instant gratification is so….gratifying!  Not only did they have a fresh pepperoni pizza ready but all kinds of crazy breakfast pizzas too….I’m sorry….am I writing about food again?  I guess I am pretty passionate about food these days too…..

After totally and completely enjoying my second breakfast (crispy salty, creamy, crunchy)  I suited up, strapped the board onto the car and headed up Sunset Cliffs Blvd.  Since John was working and I was short on time and had no time to call anyone, I realized that I would be venturing down to the cliffs for the first time on my own.

I decided that Garbage was my best option since I needed to be out of the water by noon.  Ab and Sub are more remote and the hike down the cliff would eat up about 30 minutes….I would rather spend that time in the water….

It felt SO good to finally go surfing.  For weeks I had longingly watched other people in their wetsuits march by me towards the ocean.  Now it was finally my turn. Now other people could longingly watch ME hike down the narrow stairs with my surfboard.

I gingerly stepped down the marbly stones and onto the shiny reef.  My booties did a great job protecting my feet against any jagged rocks or urchins or whatever and the tide was out far enough I didn’t have to worry about getting smashed up against any rocks.  I have to admit that I was feeling very very protective of my body and walking very very slow.  I felt lucky to be there.  Whatever happened next would be a bonus.

I laid down on my belly and began paddling.  At 10 weeks pregnant, the baby is only about the size of a grape so physically my stomach felt fine.  The water was cold and refreshing but  my arms felt heavier than before- less flexible somehow.  My breathing became heavier as I pushed a bit harder.  Finally I made it out.   I took a moment to appreciate my surroundings.  The seaweed hypnotically waved to and fro beneath me.  There was a slight mist hanging on the ocean like icing on a cake.  My world was feeling calm and serene and very relaxing.  My breathing slowed and I regained some energy.

I paddled in a little bit hoping to maybe catch a wave.  Something came my way and I went for it.  It rolled beneath me and I turned around.  This happened about 3 or 4 more times and it was tiring me out. Had I forgotten to catch a wave completely?  Thoughts of doubt crept into my head.  Maybe I’ve lost my “killer” instinct to go after a wave.  Maybe I’ve lost my core strength and don’t have the push to get into a wave anymore. Maybe….

Hi!”

I looked up.  Two surfers were suddenly sitting in front of me.  ‘Hi there.  How are you guys?’

“We’re good. Beautiful day.”

‘Isn’t it? I hate to bother you but does either one of you have the time?’  One of them pulled up his wetsuit at his wrist.

“11:05.”

‘Sweet. Thanks!’

“Hey…lets get this wave!”

I turned around just in time.  We all three paddled and got into a nice little wave.  They went left and I went right.

Ahhh. I’m back. Oh yeah….I drank up the wave energy as if I were a lost nomad  in the desert and had just found an ice cold can of soda.

More!

I paddled back out and Margaret the Chatterbox came to life.  One of the surfers (Kyle)  informed me that he was a 4th generation surfer as well as San Diego native.

“That is so cool.”

‘Yeah, my grandma actually learned from the Duke.’

“No way!”

‘Her surfboard weighed about 140 pounds.  Here comes one.’

I turned my board and was a little late but managed to stay on.  I slid down the side of the wave and then ran into some seaweed.  It’s always funny surfing through a bunch of seaweed because it will act like the emergency brakes.  My board stopped and I kept going landing gently on the other side of the wave.

I came up calling out, “That was such  a fun wipe out!”  But my two new friends were gone…obviously on the next wave.

They were soon back at my side and Kyle and I continued our conversation.

“I haven’t been in the water for about 7 weeks.”

‘Really? Why is that.’

“Well, I’m about 10 weeks pregnant so things have been a little different than usual.”

‘Oh, congratulations.  Hey, your baby is already a surfer.’

“He or she is in water within water.”

I caught one more wave and then started to feel my teeth chatter.  I realized then that I was suddenly feeling cold and fatigued.  I had a strong compulsion to end my surf session even though I was having so much fun.

“Hey I am going in.  That was really fun surfing with you two.”

Kyle looked concerned. ‘Do you know how to get out at the steps?’

“Yep… thanks….”

‘Good…use your little propeller in case you don’t get a wave all the way in.’

I chuckled and then propeller and I promptly  caught a wave all the way in.

 

December 22, 2010: Me Broth

Posted: January 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s been pouring rain for days.  That means we need to stay out of the water due to increased bacteria levels.  I have been taking Harry out for long walks along the cliff studying the waves and letting the water pelt my face.  Regardless of the conditions, there is always someone out there.  I understand that.  Sometimes there is simply an overpowering urge to be in the ocean.

Since I discovered I was pregnant, I feel like my affinity towards the ocean has increased.  Indeed my body is miraculously creating it’s own mini-ocean for the baby to float in.  Amniotic fluid, like the ocean is salty.  Like the ocean, it sustains life.  Like the ocean, there is plenty of it.

When I am on top of my surfboard and dipping my hands in the water, I try to remember that the sea itself is alive. Whenever I see a paddle boarder gently dipping his paddle into the sea, he reminds me of a chef- slowly stirring a gigantic vat of living soup.

When I am in the water

I am a cook

Stirring the ingredients with

My dipping palms.

I inhale the aroma of the

Briny

Me- Broth

December 13, 2010: Mama Surf

Posted: January 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

I woke up to John whispering to me. “C’mon, let’s go surfing!”  Our bedroom was bright with the morning rays bursting through the blinds.  ‘Breakfast first. I am starving!

After oatmeal and glass after glass of orange juice we zipped up our suits and began our walk down to the pier.  This was the first time I had walked to the pier for a surf.  I thought it might get too cumbersome carrying the board 6 blocks but the fact was, this walk was really  fun.  I felt like the people in each car that slowly passed us were longing to dash home and grab their surfboards too.  That’s how I would have felt, anyway.  A couple walking their dog smiled at us. “Hey man, there is a really consistent right slightly North of the Pier. ”

‘Thanks, dude.’ John nodded.  We turned up Newport and immediately were immersed in the sounds of skateboards whizzing by, people chatting in front of the shops and finally the simple and yet dramatic crash of the surf breaking.

I put down my surfboard on the sand.  “We made it!”

I took some time to stretch-appreciating the contrast of warm sunshine on my face and cool sand between my toes.  We waded into the water which we knew was going to be colder than we were used to. (55 degrees compared to 72)  Experiencing cold water with a wetsuit on, however, is still quite bearable.  As I paddled out, my hands and feet began to go numb but somehow it just didn’t matter.  I think the fun of surfing toughens you up.

I turned my board around just in time to see Brian, my friend’s husband and fellow O.B. parent.  “Hey Brian!”  He waved, turned his board and caught a wave. Cheeky monkey.

He paddled back out.  “I’m just going for like 20 minutes before I go work. Here you go.”

I turned around and saw a wave coming towards me.  I paddled hard but it rolled beneath me.  It was the first wave I had gone for that morning.  When I turned again, another wave was coming, I went for it too, but was a little late so I had a slow, gentle wipe-out.  I was instantly awakened by the deliciously cold sea.  Every cell in my body new it was alive.   “Whoooo!” I let out a little scream. “That’s cold!”

Just then John surfed right by me.  He stuck his hand out and I quickly reached out and our finger tips briefly collided.  He cruised on for  along time.  Obviously he had found that right. Or it found him.  What a beautiful morning.

After about 20 minutes I finally caught a wave and it felt awesome.  I have no idea how many waves I have caught in my 18 months of surfing but it always feels strangely new. Perhaps it is because every wave is entirely unique.  Each one is colored by the wind which always varies.  And then there is you and your variables: mood, energy levels, strength and so on.  So therefore every ride is it’s own unique experience in time. You will never repeat that particular wave ever again.  And that version of you that was riding that wave is also gone forever.

It is a wonderful reminder that time is fleeting and every moment unique- never to be repeated again. In my opinion, surfing seems like the very best way to make use of time.

“Hey, John!”  I patted my belly. “Junior is getting cold!” John smiled at me and we paddled in. I was hungry again.