A month ago, I celebrated my bachelor party weekend down in Baja since Vegas was flat and totally blown out. On the second day we found our very own break right off a little jetty, and as it was my last surf trip ever as an unmarried man, I was trying to fuck the shit out of every single wave that I could. So on the third session of the day, I had switched to my log and was just taking off on absolutely everything, frothing like a rabid squirrel on meth. On an inconsequential little reentry, the wave clipped me and my back foot slipped off causing my front knee to buckle into the board and continue shoreward with it and without me. I heard a pop. It burned. I knew exactly what I had done. I had just torn my MCL. My other one suffered the same fate six years ago and I had worked vigilantly to rehab it. And here I was again, floating on my back with that familiar, searing pain, cursing my insatiable addiction, knowing full well this would be my last ride for a long time. And so for the last month I’ve been hobbling around, sweating from withdrawal, planning my rehabilitation, and day-dreaming about the most fun thing in the world: sliding across water hills. This drying out phase has made me realize just how much I adore our wonderful pastime. So with my leg elevated, and my heart heavy, I thought I’d jot down seven reasons why.
1. I absolutely love being hurt. From torn knees to a split open face, I’ve learned that what doesn’t kill me does not make me stronger at all. It just hurts, and makes me pissed off and crippled for a while. And in that space, I learn that life can be quite dark and depressing. We’re all going to die, and in the mean time, we’re all going to suffer. A lot. I love this. When I’m healthy and surfing, I forget. I begin to take life for granted. Everything is sunshine and kitten queefs. So much so that I’ll even find myself scowling in the lineup from time to time, which is absurd in the grand scheme of things. But when I’m sidelined with injury I’m forced to stare at the harsh realities of living: that life is suffering, and all good things must end… which makes them better. And it makes me appreciate the good days that much more.
2. I love always being tired. When I’m well rested I have a real surplus of energy from existential angst, and I tend to be a nervous, over-analytical mess. Surfing helps to completely zap me, so that I walk around like a goddamn idiot just thinking about my next meal or session. Daily indignities of society roll off me like water on a properly preened pelican. Being exhausted and surfed out is a wonderful way to go through life. It’s like free drugs.
3. Speaking of free drugs, I love learning about addiction from the belly of the beast. I’ve been lucky and haven’t been cursed with any serious addictions in my life, which is kind of boring. Surfing helps me to understand what addicts (interesting, passionate people) go through every day. Forsaking all other opportunities for the thrill of a nice tight line. Giving up everything for one singular focus and obsession. Being a fiend for that toot, a frothing slave for that dopamine rush. And as long as it doesn’t completely consume and destroy you, personal conflict is how we get better at life.
4. I love how much surfing has simplified my life. I have no other hobbies now. There’s simply no time for them. Surfing has also helped me to cull my friend circle down to only those who really count, or who also surf, so I only have to remember a handful of birthdays and am not expected to be there to help acquaintances move, or have coffee, or whatever peripheral friends do.
5. I love driving. Up and down the coast, hither an yon. In LA, it’s how I make friends and rediscover my love for humanity. But it’s also important to put as much carbon into the air as possible so that the trees get their food. We all gotta do our part. Trees have a rapacious hunger. Now that I’m not driving all over the place to find my salt water drugs, I’m feeling quite guilty about not feeding the plants, so I’ve been burning my garbage on my balcony, methodically transferring the contents of nearby recycling containers into trash cans and slashing the tires of any hybrids or electric vehicles I see. Even though this takes up all my time now, I’ve found it to be a surprisingly rewarding new hobby. In an ever-expanding, cooling universe, I sleep well knowing I’m doing my part to keep the earth warming at an alarming rate in an effort to offset this mind-blowing reality.
6. I love constantly having pre-pterygium red eyes and everyone thinking that I’m always stoned. I don’t even have to smoke weed to looked baked out of my mind. I just have to surf a few hours. And my blood shot eye balls advertise, albeit falsely, that I’m a cool dude, and that I’m not to be taken seriously. This way I’m never given any real responsibility and nothing is expected from me. Which is great because people have their walls down around me and whenever I do contribute anything, it is a huge surprise and received quite warmly.
7. I love that I am completely unemployable. My resume is nearly empty because of the goddamn sea. No one can hire me. This is great because I hate working. Now go out there and enjoy the waves for me. Because I can’t. Or write hateful comments below. That’s also fine.