Sucks being a surfer dude that's afraid of the ocean. I go neck deep, try to swim out deeper, but it just doesn't happen. Few times a week. Every. Fucking. Summer. Beyond tingles. Wincing. Stiffness. My demise. Like that suspense/thriller symphonic noise on the soundtrack as soon as I get in SinkorSwim territory. Heavy and heavier on the strings, fear- mmrrwwwAArrrRRRRR!!! boom. silence - Nothingness and Doom both pipe in, "you stupid mammal, what do you think this is? tea parties with your old childhood pals at the bottom of the community pool? ...ya punkass, beat it! Bwhahah!" laughing me out of their territory.
The unknown takes hold in my mind, and overrides passion in my heart. It's proven to be insurmountable for me on North Beach.
Sometimes I get it under control and go out deep enough to where I'm treading water— Swells, high, low, high, low. Oh, yaaa, I'm thinking, Righton, very ni— then fight or flight kicks in as I've gone just a ways too deep, WHoa! Whoa! Whoa! get out, get out, swimaway, swimaway, swim-a-waaay! shit's gonna get you, man ::swash swoosh swash:: couple scissor kicks and a breaststroke or 4... okok I got this. I let out a puff to get some water off my face ::pffoo:: Heart starts thumping again as the booboojeebies catch up to me a second time as I bodysurf the next wave in to the pounded-sand beach... Then I quickly swash back out, having rode the previous wave all the way to kiddie territory. Back in the mer, but only pits-deep this time -always- looking for another ride and staying away from the rockweed floating too close for comfort. Happy, but, still not ever achieving my goal. Constantly flirting with the edge of my comfort zone; a c-hair's distance couldn't get me any closer to it half the time (a fun technical term separating people that like to roll rugged language vs. that arrre rugged language.) The undulations barely keep me mellow once past my waste, again, fortitude is completely smoked, but, hey, at least I'm riding something.
Maybe if I had a nice deck it'd be different (pro tip: call a board a deck in a boardshop, or among someone, in on the know, and they're gonna give you instant cred, for example: "Wow man, nice deck," doubles as an easy pickup line if you like guys that ride, ya know? And if they don't give you some kinda credit and they bag on you, you remember what I say rather loudly, later on in the piece, and know the real riders got you. It's cool.)
Maybe it's just my home beach- used to go pretty deep in Rhode Island, but that was just some kooky beaches, It'd still always creep up on me though; talking NH at any rate. Maybe I just need a suit to get some increased buoyancy? I don't know. The fear. The immensity is what's getting at me, not my ability ta float, I think: "we all, Float!" ehh Pennywise, you fucking gasbag? becoming food for a bottom feeder if I drown or wind up sharkshit if I'm attacked. Something else that I can't even imagine... doesn't matter. It all envelopes me as soon as I get past that point. Some cats do have more than 9 lives, but as I get on in years, I wonder if I'll be able to slip out on Death another time. Stopped keeping track a while ago.
Seems to stem from some bad experience on Oahu, at the beach when I was 4-&-1/2, well, a couple of life changing experiences actually, maybe more on those another time. Maybe. Grandad, Mac if you ever met him, was stationed there for the Airforce. Well, anyway, I almost drowned. Brother was taking watch of me, things went bad, we were on boogie boards and I fell off and went under- not knowing how to swim, which is another story. And it was to the point my mom had to barrel in to the water and yard me out; sputtering and helpless, shaking and beside myself, coughing up water after barely having hung on to soul & body. Lifeguard still oblivious and not paying attention; sure hope he got laid, cuz, like, what an asshole.
It's the Island of Misfit Toys when I'm out there swimming in the salty swill. A cowboy that rides an ostrich. A capgun that squirts jelly. A locomotive with square wheels. An owl that swims. A surfer, ill prepared for the depths. Fuck man, I'm trying not to be such a chickenshit.
That being said, I can rip a snowboard decently, I know I can do stuff. Didn't learn how to ride on a mountain though when I had become acclimated to the sport. Pardon, with "Our Sport" as the nerdy geeking snowdorks will often tweefully call it; like there's still a need for solidarity in the way we slide. Snowboarding was "outlaw" on the slopes at one point. You could get kicked right off, believe it or not. That was when I was still really young though, and the technology within the sport had a long way to go. And my parents were too broke or un-inclined to get us up on the mountain; they ere busting their asses supporting 3 kids in a recession, living blue collar in a yuppie town. That's when I was still just figuring it out, riding in dumps or getting pulled by a wreck of a snowmachine at an obscene speed on a plastic snowboard. Maybe that's fallen off, the snowboarder solidarity thing, and hasn't been the fashion, I admit, I've checked out of the scene for a bit, in favor of some solitude. But, ya, ya know, shit like that. Going over to the next door neighbor's pool, and running along side, plopping down a styrofoam kickboard, jumping on and skimming right across. Would run out of water really quick though, I tell ya, as the inevitable wipeout, would come; ass over teakettle right in to the scraggly patio bushes. Hehheh, who says those things are just for looks? Sweet, no blood... Time for another swipe!
Yes, of course, some sk8ing as well... on department store decks and shitbad bearings, among a sea of SantaCruz, Vision, McGill skateboards, when I was a boy. Stuff with some sorta quality and response, the opposite of what I had access too and not just embarassed but clowned on for having something of inferior quality. Used to rip a homemade longboard skate deck at the dawn of hipsterism, first nice pair of trucks and bearings I ever had. At age 25 (I think a lot of you kids out there done dropped the ball on what it was supposed to be. But, after a triumphant evening at the tavern recently, I'm thinking you guys have been holding out on your ability to discern shit from Shinola.)
So ya, I go neck deep & treading all the time! The calmness never comes. Hurricane close enough to making things interesting? Oh, for sure, let me at that. The wave isn't what spooks me. I've been in deep deep too, out at the Isles of Shoals a couple times, right in the harbor, off the side of a ledge on Appledore, but I can't get out quick enough though; the shit turns in to a TexAvery cartoon, like some housecat comically hurtling itself out of the water. It's not like I can't swim; became fairly proficient by the time I was out of junior high, passed the courses right up until freshwater lifeguard. Maybe it's just my home beach. I don't know. Keep thinking I'm gonna go rent a standup paddle board (kind with the long oar, and people just taking it easy) to help out and try to get the feeling of being way waay over the head, but, shit. Some stress I can't handle too easily on my own, barely even manage it with another close by, I try to steer myself away from mortal embarrassment, the kind I've been plagued by.
Was always the kid that hurtled himself off the bridge first, cackling all the way down with the eventual... ::BuuBOOSH!:: Up on the hill back in college... crank it right off the big booter in the park, hucking myself in to the glory, soaring over punkasses from the good side of the tracks that couldn't even reach the landing, (let alone overshoot it by a ways),"Hey hows that? you preppy elitist mountain fuckers! IS THIS TOO GHETTO FOR YOU?" ...ya basitds! ;D—The scene has seen it's fair share of bs for those not in the know, what do you think Johnny Tsunami was about?— /afterbang, ride away clean or squirrel it out on purpose. Unstrap at the bottom of the run; on-going gigglefests. Highfives. Camaraderie; yes, even with skiers among our motley crue, the hammerheads as well as the elitists (believe it or not, they all like drinking beer and blasting music just the same)... "S'it time to go get hammid yet? ...my fuckin legs are gonna fawll off," someone would eventually sigh out, knowing full well they were gonna be craving some G-forces as soon as they got in the car and headed back to wherever, going over and over it in their mind, already day dreaming about the next time. Heart still thumping a bit, but nothing that has to do with getting swallowed hole by the sea. But, when it comes to deep ocean: I am fucked, which is just such a monster of a drag, because surfing godfathered it all. Maybe skiing had to have been there for snowboarding to happen in the first place, but, surfing; man, the variables, the expression, just so rad.
Every once in a while, I'll show some kid how to skim the beach better. You know, like that board you see dudes running into from the very edge, where the waves wash up, slapping it down in that thin film of water, then hopping on, looking all squirelly for a sec? But as the years go by, and the body gets more mass, I think twice, as I'm out of practice. Would suck to F up the young buck's cheesy skimmer. He doesn't know it's a cheesy one, or really doesn't care, or can't afford to care... knucklehead just wants to catch a ride! And I know those feelings. Anyway, when I do, he'll look at me skeptically for a sec unsure if the burly local really is guiding him, then the inevitable, "oh I see!" Then I disappear. Ride on, my friend. Ride, on, I think, never looking back. Then, I look back, and see him actually make something happen, and actually wipe hard, for once, as soon as he gets to the remnants of some ankle slapper wave he's been trying to get to, but didn't know it; 'till his defender bud showed up. Now, the little dude is ecstatic, he IS a rider, and he can't catch another one quick enough. Better than junk.
Then I go back to my rig, put my glasses back on, fuckin A man, did some underwear model just hither me? gaaddaamn I should be wearing contacts when I do this stuff... every fucking summer.
Hey, I guess it's hard for some people to even dip their toes in.