Lucky To Be Surfers….
I was learning to windsurf a number of years ago in Hawaii. Windsurfing was a sport I was suited for. I’m a surfer, I’m a sailor, I’m an ocean person: It was the perfect sport for me. It wasn’t that easy to learn, though.
During my humbling learning curve, I got good enough to go out in wind and waves that you couldn’t do as a rank beginner. I was just good enough for a friend to take me down to Diamond Head. we stood on the bluff and looked down on 75 to 100 windsurfers darting in and out with their colorful sails, all screaming along in the 20-knot trade winds. I looked over and saw this little group of surfers on an obscure peak off to the side that had inconsistent surf. They just sat around waiting for waves. “God, that looks dull,” I thought to myself.
We schlepped our gear down the bluff trail to the beach, and after a half hour of rigging, mucking around, and getting our gear together, we went windsurfing. I spent the next the next two hours just barely surviving: I tried to stay off the reefs, jibe when I could, and do water starts. Back at the beach, we derigged our gear and carried it back up the bluff: It was a full day coming and going.
Several days later, i was out on the North Shore. It was summer-time, and normally the North Shore doesn’t break in the summer. I was staying right at Pupukea, and Pipeline is only a couple hundred yards away. Pipeline didn’t have a soul out, but there were some four or five footers coming through, and the sun was going down over Ka’ena Point. I paddled out, sat there, and looked around.
Windsurfing at Diamondhead, I didn’t have a chance to look at anything; I was in pure survival mode. That day at Pipeline, sitting out there alone in one of the most beautiful places on earth and getting some fun waves while watching the sun go down, I realized how lucky I was to be a surfer.
It was at that moment I realized that surfing wasn’t really the ride; it was the process of getting there. It was the ride to the ride that was the important thing.
-Mickey Munoz as edited by John Dutton
To read more of Mickey’s stories. Please get a copy of “No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Munoz”