The past four months, however, have been like no other that I have ever experienced and to be completely honest with you, they have scared me.
Between multiple deaths in my immediate family, extended hours at work and easily the worst four months of surf ever recorded, I have never surfed less in my entire life.
For the first time ever, the scary idea that surfing was no longer fun or fulfilling started to creep into my mind. A few days out of the water would turn into a week. A one-day outing in sub-par waves would occur, and then tragedy, work, etc. would claim most of my time. On the rare occasion when the surf actually picked up some and was fun, my schedule or personal situation prevented me from partaking in it.
As a result of this, ultimately my accrued days of surfing over the four-month time frame added up to about 12 days. When you’re used to surfing between four and five days a week, these 12 days add up next to nothing.
The overall end result was both a physical and mental degradation in my overall health. The body became soft and listless while the mind lost focus and became somewhat hazy. The smallest of irritations became major problems, while the lightest physical task became very tiring. Overall ambition and, for lack of a better word, “stoke” began to fade away. I was coming very close to forgetting a very important part of me — that of being a surfer.
Then, one day in November, I went out. The sun was out and the surf was up a bit. Crowds were light, wind and tides were right and due to the recent time change, my wind of opportunity was extended. I threw my gear into the back of the old ’57 Plymouth wagon and headed to one of my favored high-tide breaks.
Though the surf was not large nor the shape that good, for the first time in those many past months, things clicked and I fell back into the game.
When it came time to leave and go open up Bird’s Surf Shed, I exited the surf feeling refreshed and ready for the day. My mind was clear and my body sore. My stoke level was on the rise. I had a few minutes to kill, so I made a quick stop at my best friend Joe Roper’s repair shop just to shoot the breeze. We talked about some of my boards he’s restoring and reminisced over some classic photos hanging in his shop and then it was off to work. Robin Prodanovich was shaping in the Shed’s shaping room and new customers were waiting at the door. My right-hand man, Isaac Wood, showed up dripping wet from his surf session and within a few minutes, Skip Frye dropped in, too. He had come by to pick up his favorite sunscreen from the Headhunter company.
Soon we were all talking about the waves we had surfed this morning. Although all three of us had surfed the same break, each of us had done so at separate times. Skip took off to shape boards and Isaac said he’d watch the Shed so that I could go out and surf a second session.
I was out the door in five minutes flat on the way to my favorite low-tide reef break. More waves shared with a few friends as the sun set and I was through. As I walked up the many long stairs to where the Plymouth was parked, I enjoyed the feel once again of sore muscles and a clear head.
If there is a moral to this story, maybe it’s as simple as just relaxing and enjoying life more. Whether you surf, golf, play tennis or whatever, don’t lose sight of who and what you are. Keep your stoke level on high!
Till next time,