A Perfect Day

Thursday 14th April 2011 was a good day: clean head-high to overhead waves, two two-hour sessions and then a glass-off Friday morning. I'm all surfed out.

I snapped this photo on my phone of the dwindling light at the end of Thursday's second surf, red line leading to Lundy, waves still peeling beautifully.

When waves get to a certain size, 6ft or so, they well-up and become majestic. They have a power, a respect, a character that is suddenly more. A bit like Orson Welles.

Caught perhaps my best ever left. Managed - for the first time ever - to turn back towards the foamball and then back again along the face! Did it again frontside too. I'm not claiming any roundhouse here — new manoeuvres are always a ramshackle affair but it was a new and exciting thing. It's amazing how disorientated you feel when turning back the other way after being used to shooting down the line in one direction. Disorientation is one of the themes and beauties of surfing. It's good to get thrown and then collect your scattered thoughts again.

When I began, nearly two years ago, a few people told me to enjoy the time because the excitement and freshness of the beginning - the paddle into surfing - was the best part. That is rubbish! So far every point I've been at is the 'best part' and now is no exception. It's wonderful to be catching larger waves, paddling between them, duck-diving under them, popping-up ok on most rides, riding them and finding some moves, waving to and chatting with familiar faces, being the one dropped in on (and who people cut out for because you made the section!) rather than always cutting-out yourself because you're sat in the wrong position and find yourself doing the dropping-in, feeling the face of the wave with your hand as you bottom turn, carving around paddling out surfers, grinning like a fool, feeling with your foot for the inside rail, moving forward to trim a little, stalling into pocket so you shoot out of it like crazy! Yaaaaooowoooo! I'm getting all over-excited just writing this - running through your rides in your head is a dangerously indulgent perversion!

One great beauty now is that I am now paddling less and conserving energy for the right moments and to allow a longer session (as I find it easier to know which waves to go for and where I should be). It's like the painful irony of marathon runners: the worse you are the more time you have to run for.

Last week, on a small fun day, I had just caught a nice wave and I waved and smiled at Richard as I paddled past and he waved and smiled back. I felt at that moment my smile was one of the deepest smiles on earth, well rooted, the kind of joy that can only come with pleasure, meaning and the feeling that the life's cogs and wheels have all, briefly, fallen into sync.


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