Keep Calm and Carry On….
Easier said than done when you are somewhere in a giant ball of swirling water spinning you off the bottom, and snarling you in a heap of kelp. All the while being dragged by your stretched to the max leash and feeling like a lone sock in the agitation cycle.
Somewhere in all the violent thrashing is the little voice in your head telling you, “Keep Calm, it will be over soon…” Yeah, I can’t hear that voice either. Usually all I hear is the deafening sound of my own inner voice yelling “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, Please! Please! Please! I do not want drown in this ugly wetsuit at SanO!!” (Side note: Stop laughing at me, SanO gets scary sometimes too!) Seriously, though, it has happened to all of us in the water at some point, that unsettling feeling of being at the mercy of the sea. Wondering when either you’ll pop up and grab a breath before the next wave hits, or if you’re staying under for another one. The surfing “wipeout/beating” is a universal truth. It will happen, and it won’t only happen once.
For the most part, my personal beatings usually occur on my way out to the line up. If I had a Spiritual Name it would defiantly mean “She who calls the set waves when 50 yards from the outside”. I can’t count the amount of times when I have gotten so close to point “B” only to get dragged back to “A”. Or worse, to almost make it over a wave to the sweet freedom of the lineup, only to be sucked over the falls in a backwards cartwheel of board and flailing limbs. The only way to feel better when suffering this indignity is to have a buddy getting pulled along next to you. Shared humiliation is the best kind! My inner voice during these times is shouting out expletives and smacking the little voice trying desperately to remind me to “Keep calm, it happens to everyone…”
The beatings that you see coming are another favorite. Mostly they happen dropping in too late, you know you aren’t going to make it, your board has the speed wobbles as soon as you stand up, and you are on a one way trip to a faceplant. Better still, how about joyously going down the line on a gorgeous right, and there it is… the heaving of of your wave closing out. You can look over your left shoulder all you want, there is nothing but white behind you and nothing but white coming at you. The little voice happily reminding you “Keep calm, straighten out, you’ll survive the impact…” Yeah, no. You won’t survive the impact. This always ends the same way, a huge explosion of water and you being tossed like a pizza crust.
There are a million ways the ocean can humble you with a liquid beating. If you surf long enough, it is written in stone that you will experience many of them. Some will be truly scary, but most will just remind you that no matter how good you think you are, everyone goes for the ride at some point. The advice I leave you with, is when it’s happening to you, listen to the little voice reminding you to “Keep calm, and carry on.”