Ride the wave.
I love surfing.
I didn’t discover it until 2016, but from the second I stood up on the board, I was immediately and completely hooked.
I haven’t done it as much as I wish I would like, but I try to build it into a trip at least once a year. Colorado is not exactly a surfing Mecca.
About a year after getting on the board for the first time, I attended a surf camp in California. Five days of two sessions a day, just getting REAL comfortable being on a board.
At first, we drilled the technique. Paddling, standing up quickly, setting your feet in the right position, basic turns, etc..
There is a lot of joy in going from “I’ve never done this before” to “I can do this consistently.” The learning curve is the steepest, and the leaps that we can make feel the most profound.
As the week wore on, we increasingly relied on ourselves to read the surf, and THIS Is what I fell completely in love with.
Your instincts and perceptions of how the waves will break change as you watch them more. You can feel how the wind is blowing. You can start to see the patterns in the set.
You not only catch more waves but also recognize which waves feel best for how you like to surf. Some like them steeper, some like them to curl, and some like gentle and rolling.
But, as is often the case, there’s a deeper knowing here that explains why it feels so good…
Last week, I got to play my first show in New York City.
Within the context of the goals I set for myself, this really mattered to me.
NYC is home.
It’s my favorite city in the entire world.
It’s where people go to chase dreams.
And I, like so many people on that beautiful island, wanted a taste.
I’m not going to try and capture the show here. I’m still processing so much of how the night went.
But from the minute we walked out of the weird, random warehouse space in Brooklyn we rented, I immediately wanted to do it again.
Over and over and over and over again.
I have been thinking about what dates could work, how to find another venue, and how to sell more tickets.
This means that this week: I’ve been mad at the ocean.
The deeper knowledge of surfing is one of abundance. Even if you miss a wave, you know that another will come. We don’t covet individual opportunities because we can see many, many more of them slowly gliding toward us, becoming clearer and clearer as they get closer.
But rather than leaving the show feeling that certainty and joy of “I get to do this many more times,” I immediately fell into a desperate space.
How can I make more of this happen? How do I assert my will? How do I take control of this desire?
How do I force another wave to appear?
If any of you have ever been tossed around by the ocean when you resist what she tells you, you learn hard and fast how dumb that is.
And yet, all week, I tried to fight.
On the last day of camp, I went out early with one other surfer.
It was a very foggy, cloudy morning on the California coast. Very moody.
We paddled out, and the surf wasn’t appealing.
The waves were sporadic and reading the sets amidst the mist was hard.
But I didn’t feel anxious or annoyed.
I just looked back at the shore. And how beautiful the ocean color is when it becomes that weird gray/green (it turns out there’s a German term for it: glasz).
And suddenly, I saw a fin.
I did think it might be a shark for about two seconds.
But then I saw the gentle arc of a dolphin’s back.
And then another.
And then it became clear that it was a whole pod!
Swimming all around me and the other surfer.
Jumping, playing, calling, squeaking.
They didn’t stay long, only 30 seconds. They were as close as 3-4 feet away from me.
It was magic.
If you sit there demanding that your next wave come, you never know what you might miss.
So as badly as I want to do another show and go back to Brooklyn and build more community and release my album and blah blah blah, I know that this behavior all amounts to demanding that the ocean give me waves.
But as any surfer will tell you, you are best served by waiting patiently and enjoying how wonderful it is to be in the ocean.