Finding the froth
2018 was the year I began learning to surf in earnest. In the years leading up to this, I'd tried surfing before. A lesson in Hawaii, a board rental in Mexico: it never really stuck.
When I started, I always felt like I was flailing in the water.
Our domain is on land and not the ocean. Nothing better encourages that realization than paddling out with your noodles-for-arms into the surf and getting pummeled by an oncoming swell.
This perspective, however, was changed in Indonesia.
In Bali specifically, where ironically many locals don't swim or fish because the ocean is, in the Balinese brand of Hindusim, the residence of demons, ogres, and other just terrible things.
That first trip in Bali, we stayed outside Canggu – just a 10 minute drive from Batu Bolong Beach. There, regardless of season, the waves break from 4 to 8 feet in luxuriant, comfortable, warm water. 1
So, I rented a surfboard for $10 and paddled out.
When you're a beginner, learning to surf can feel like building a card house next to an oscillating fan.
Start by getting on the board, then get balanced, start to paddle and get moving… the house is complete.
Then, a wave comes.
All-of-a sudden you're a flea in a shaken-up can of Sprite. And before you know it, you come to the surface and your board is away from you. You have to gather yourself, your gear, your dignity and rebuild.
A moment later, another wave strikes.
This continues until the new surfer either surrenders to exhaustion and heads into the beach, or drowns.
Luckily, this time I did not drown.
And while I was out there, I got to witness just what is supposed to happen on these waves. Dozens of amazing surfers cruising by left and right. Carving and gliding. For the first time, the idea of capturing a force of energy pushing through the water for hundreds of miles and hopping on it, started to sound appealing.
Seeing that, so up close for the first time, is what got me into surfing.
As soon as I was back to San Francisco, I resolved to surf until I was good. And that is where I have been since. Not good, but getting better.
Now I spend most of my time Surfing either Pacifica or Bolinas in Northern California.
Where sometimes, on good days I get to see stuff like this.