Stoked for Life
As society struggles to redefine what it means to age I shall keep doing what makes me feel young: surfing waves.
“Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me.The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I am on a wave .” Paul Hunter
As I approach my 53rd birthday, I have no plans of retiring the surfboards. Quite the opposite. This time of year offers me the indulgence of being able to redefine my wave judgement, my timing, and reconnecting with fellow surfers on the island.
I have surfed for over thirty years on a spit of sand 30 miles out to sea off the southern coast of Cape Cod . For me, the island of Nantucket is home and plays host to some of the best fall surfing on the Eastern seaboard. The surfer trilogy of water and air temperature,wave consistency, and the overall weather conditions come into play during September and October.
The thrill of paddling out, duck diving through a set of waves, scratching upward towards the horizon, and confidently riding a clean wave down the line is what makes me tick.When riding a wave, I listen to my instinct and trust it. I recognize as I get older that I do not take the sport and art of surfing for granted as I once did.
I have been lucky enough to travel with surfboards as my loyal companions to exotic locales in Brazil,Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Conversely, it has been said that ” familiarity breeds content” and for me surfing in Nantucket is where I feel complete and uninhibited.The camaraderie is unparalleled in the water and during periodic pauses in the water between sets ” all seems right with the world.”
At this time of year in the tepid Atlantic waters there is no jockeying for space as I angle to ” walk the water on my board “. Maturity is thankfully softening me on being so hard on myself in the water. The small things I once took for granted take on a new meaning: the moments between waves spent talking and laughing, the fleeting rush of adrenelin, and sitting in the water feeling as one with the setting sun.
In my past I have had the pleasure of surfing with Laird Hamilton and Sam George when they were in Nantucket promoting the surf movie” Riding Giants.” I have been graced with meeting Kelly Slater at Sebastian Inlet, Florida three winters ago and watched him turn small waves into ones of epic size. I was humbled and honored to win the Ozone Surf Classic on Nantucket at the tender age of 43 . Yet at the end of the day I am just one thing: a soul surfer. My marriage with the ocean solidifies me and gives me the confidence that I need to ride the biggest wave of all ; the wave of life. Surfing has afforded me a healthy lifestyle,interesting travels, and a genuine smile on my face none of which I take for granted. At least not now.
As fall approaches and some of the best waves are due to roll in I remind myself that I have nothing to prove to myself in the water .Quite simply, I am obsessed and possessed with a sheer desire to keep riding.
On this beautiful September day, it is time to strap the boards on the car,grab some sunblock , and remind myself that age is just a number.
Time to hit the waves.