By: Anonymous •
“I suggest you quit surfing.” Not the words a surfer that’s spent the last 25 years in the water wants to hear from his doctor. So what to do now? The x-rays didn’t look good and the persistent pain in my neck and back had been telling me the same thing for years now, namely my days in the water could come to an end sooner rather than later. The chronic pain was due to sports and occupational injuries, and the consistent postures and muscle activities of surfing only made things worse. But I LOVE surfing!
“Ok, doc, I’ll quit.” Though what I meant was that I would look for an alternative that would give me the same feeling of freedom, excitement and play that surfing gives. What to do? Keep in mind that this was (thankfully) before stand-up paddleboards were a thing, so that was (and still is not) an option. Kayaking seemed exciting enough, right? Nope. Boring. You’re on the water, not in the water and the damn things are so big and bulky. I did give white water kayaking a go several times and I must say THAT was awesome. But I live at the beach and I hate driving for even ten minutes to find waves, so kayaking was out.
Little did I know the solution was right in front of me, or actually next-door and down the street. My neighbor and good friend had been bodysurfing for 50+ years. I knew at least five of the guys he grew up with and they all bodysurfed and talked story, just a slightly different story that I was accustomed to. But the story was still about tides and swell direction and wind, and well, you get the picture. But I was scared. If I were to do this wouldn’t it mean that I would need to go without a wetsuit year round, wear a speedo and put on fins that kill my feet? Wouldn’t that mean I’d be spending more time under water and swimming than riding waves? Wouldn’t the cool dudes with surfboards view me as a non-surfer?
Yeah, I’d bodysurfed before, usually as a way to cool off in the summer when the waves were small and I was just hanging at the beach. But swimming out with these guys in a good-sized hollow winter swell things were different…
More to come…
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