Surfing is a somewhat mesmerizing sport. There are only a few other sports where you are so close to nature, completely exposed to its unpredictable moods and whims. Every day surfers around the world jump back onto their boards to dance once again with the tides of the ocean – regardless of the hazards accompanying the sport.
The magic of a moment
Why? It’s a feeling that is hard to explain. I’ve done lots of different sports in the last couple of years, but none has left me as addicted as surfing did. Really, you could almost call it a disease.
So I’ve tried to capture a very special moment for you, in the morning, when you walk down to the beach in the rising daylight, to catch the first wave of the day…
At the break of day…
…we’re standing motionless on top of the dune, silently watching, as the spectacle below us takes its usual course. We watch the sets arriving. Orderly in size the waves break onto the sandbank that is hidden beneath the water of the incoming tide. My eyes look for the whitewash, observing the water masses, and to my content, spot a couple of beautiful crumbling waves, breaking to the left as well as the right. The beach break is presenting itself to us in its best shape, although you can still feel the morning sickness. My surf instructor used to say, the ocean is like a pregnant woman in the dawn.
I smile as we grab our boards and walk down to the beach. My toes sink into the cold sand, still a bit damp from the nights rain. The colours around me are so vivid, the air so clear.
The leash closes tightly around my right ankle, as I strap the Velcro together. The rail of my board nestles smoothly into my hand. I stand on the edge of the waterline and let the first waves wash around my toes, instead of walking straight into the break. Somehow it feels like the water is accepting me, instead of me being an intruder. A first greeting. Then I walk in, wait for the set break, jump on my board, and start to paddle.
I feel the gentle aching of my arms, as I dive under the last wave of the set and sit up in the line-up. There is only a couple of other surfers out there this early in the morning and we greet each other with a slight nod of the head and on my side a wide grin. I can’t stop it. As soon as I sit out there, I can’t stop smiling. I feel connected to the nature around me.
There is so much energy. So pure and raw. When my fingers tangle in the cool liquid, I can feel the vibrations. It’s an endless motion. Green turning blue and glassy. Like a thousand butterflies the first sunrays dance on the ripples of the sea. Almost shy, like the flight of a fairy. It’s a hypnotizing game that I can’t stop watching. Just drifting, seeing the beach slowly passing by as I rock with the current into a different direction. This shining surface, a dangerous invitation.
I take the ocean up on it, fill my lungs, with the clean air, hold my breath and dive under. Deeper. Feeling life unfolding around me as I open my eyes. The light from above a faraway promise. And just when my lungs seem to burst, my stomach thrusting in contractions, I aim for the surface; break through. Never had I seen anything so beautiful as the waves passed me by, travelling the last passage of their long journey.
The scent of freedom
The sea has an old soul. Creating pictures and drawing ideas in my mind. I pull myself back up on my board, feel the wax beneath my fingers, the sheer vastness of the ocean as it roared its message into the world. It takes me with it, I feel the mountain of water piling up behind me, as I paddle two more strokes, glide and pop up. It’s one fluent movement, my feet find halt on the board, gently pushing it deeper into the wave. A rush of adrenaline as I fly down the face of the wave, my hand trailing behind, as I come back to the centre of energy. Everything around me falls into place. Waterdrops fall, creating a rainbow with the sunshine from high above in my mind. There is one simple moment, where I just exist. Where everything suddenly adds up. I become one with the nature around me. On this wave, there is no judgement, no problems, no uneasiness, nothing. There is just life. Right there.
When the wave recedes, I jump from my board. Mid-air, I breathe in once more. The salty scent of freedom and wilderness. A smile emerges from the depth of my heart, and the cool water is a soft embrace of an old friend. The world stops spinning for a moment, as all my thoughts dissolve into the bubbles skipping to the moving surface above me. And when the sun finally rises over the dune, casting its shy warmth over the endless beautiful ocean, my heart is calm and my soul is at ease.
I am home.
I am free.
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