Santa Monica Beach, California.
Post-surf, I sat with my toes in the sand and my face deep in a burrito, and watched local folk head in and out of the water. This girl caught my eye. You could just tell she really needed that surf. Her head was dipped low but her eyes kept popping up to focus on where she was headed: the glistening waves of the Pacific. She stood at the shoreline for a moment, gathering her thoughts, before running into the shallows. It was a special little moment to witness.
Surfing is the perfect kind of solitude. It’s my favourite time spent alone. It can bring you comfort, peace and inspiration. It can also bring you nerves, fear, roaring waves, and a comfort zone that is well and truly rocked. But, in my eyes, that is the joy: the gamble and the difference in feelings that can come from hours out in the solitary surf. It is your prime time to push yourself and overcome fears, accomplish, and inspire yourself. And yet it also can be your prime time for ridding your mind of unwanted thoughts, and taking time-out to sit behind the waves with nothing but the blue water lapping at your knee caps and the rays of sun on your back. (Unless you’re in England, and then you tend to find grey water at your knees, and rain on your back, but it is perfectly pukka all the same).
And yet, despite all this I say, the joy of this sport is that no matter how solitary it feels, you are never really alone. Be there the waves, the sunshine rays, the sound of the roaring ocean, the fish at your toes, or your friends riding the waves around you – there is always something there by your side. Your board is yours, and the time you spend with yourself is priceless – it’s complete bliss – but you never feel lonely.
Whatever the weather, whatever the reason, wherever the surf spot, it will always be my favourite way to take my daily solitary wedge.
So, head out there and dive in your nearest wave, with a board or not. Just get tossed around a bit (safely so). I believe it’s one of the best medicines one could ever find.