I’ve been thinking. Looking back over my posts, I sound like a negative guy, like this whole “not surfing” experiment has made me bitter. Strangely enough, I don’t think it has. I remain a happy person, happier than most at least. It sucks to see other people surfing while I cannot, but I am more aware than ever of the many things I have to be thankful for. School is out, I have a wonderful family that is healthy, and I recently watched as a melting pot of vigilantes rose up to defeat the evil Miami Heat empire and reclaim the NBA crown. Life is good.
Somehow, when I sit down and start pecking away on the Notes app on my phone, words appear that are inexplicably laced with negativity, cynicism, and doom. When I noticed this trend, I thought to myself, I need to write something positive, something uplifting. Then, I came to my senses.
I’m not documenting this warped pursuit in order to inspire, although it would be great if I inspired all other surfers to take a year off beginning next January. That would mean lots of waves for me. But no, I’m documenting my year for posterity and to entertain, not just you but myself as well. Writing these posts has in some strange way provided me with a purpose, an endeavor to try to fill the void left by not surfing.
As far as uplifting blogs go, I can’t stand them. If I have a few minutes to read someone’s thoughts, I want entertainment, hopefully some humor, and the odd bit of insight. In fact, I think I’d enjoy reading my own blog if I didn’t already know what it was gonna say. From what people tell me as I go about this difficult, landlubbing year, others like it too. No one yet has told me, “Dude your blog sucks! It’s unreadable drivel and you should quit writing.” (I’m sure some people are thinking it, and I’d love to hear from them.)
As I approach the halfway point in this journey, I repeatedly ask myself if there’s any reason to continue. With summer’s arrival I find myself surrounded by water and have to be careful not to cheat. This weekend, I attended a surf contest that I started in memory of Zeke Sanders, a good friend who battled with bipolar disorder and eventually took his own life. It’s a free event for local groms, but we also hold a special heat for Zeke’s friends, called the Phyzeke.
I paddled out for the heat in my nephew’s inflatable pool raft so as not to be tempted to ride a wave. For half an hour, I did my best to get in everybody’s way. A few times a wave caught my lil’ ship, so I immediately dove out, each time aiming to remove another surfer from his board. Some onlookers accused me of breaking my vow and riding a wave.
I can say with absolute certainty that those accusations are false. Yes, if you snapped a photo at the right second, it would look like I was surfing. I know I didn’t, and the reason I know is that afterwards, walking back to my car, I had an empty feeling. Sure, I miss my friend, but he’s been gone for almost a decade. It was something else, something much closer.