Surfing is the act of being carried by the wave. The wave itself can break in a variety of places. Some waves break far from shore. Some a few desperate feet from the abrasive sand. Some are formed in lakes and others arise from the wake of boats or moving water in a river over a structure on the bottom.
If you picked some random people from Angola and asked them to describe surfing, the randomites would probably describe a person on a surfboard with a few fins. They would then describe the surfer paddling in the ocean and then standing up to ride the wave as it races towards its own end.They probably would skip over kneeboarding, bodysurfing, bodyboarding, Stand Up Paddling, and skimboarding.
That is because the surfing world almost works like the world of musicianship. The focus is on the singer and the guitar player, while in the back; the drummer and bass play along with minimal fan fare. You might as well forget about groupies for the support staff! How many drunk women in the crowd have stared to the back of the room and fantasized about what the hands of the sound engineer could do to them? That number would probably hover around zero.
One Christmas in Hawaii, I was given a bodyboard by my parents. It had to have been a group effort because my other friends were given bodyboards as well. Back in those days, there were no preconceived ideas on riding the wave in a perfect way. So we took to the surf in our new crafts and found a whole new fantasy world awaiting us. We could take off far later than we ever imagined and waves that were suicide on our surfboards due to rocks or just closing out became a new place to play.
In my later years, the bodyboard made its return. I was surfing in the amateur ranks and one of the side events was bodyboarding. This seemed like a good way to go home with 2 trophies instead of one. My other friends thought the same way. So the day of the event, we would dust off our boards and take to the shorepound. I swear we never had so much fun just goofing around.
The Death of Peter Pan
I will not name my bodyboarding accomplices but I will say that one of them is highly known in the surfing world today. As we grew older, our sites were firmly set on professional surfing so any fun on the bodyboards were to be shelved. Being a keyboard player was not going to cut it…we were the lead singers!
Now, I look at things as an older man. My mindset has changed and now I can not understand why people do something that appears to imitate but is twice as hard. Why do kids ride a Snake Board when a regular skateboard is half the work and you can do ten thousand more tricks on it? Why do people try to stand up on their bodyboard and try to surf it when they can just get a shortboard and have an easier time and not slide out?
Brad rides a skimboard. Most people see skimboards as something their kids do on some sandy beach because they are cheap. The more advanced skimmers can ride some side wedges but their world seems to be limited to a 30 foot zone close to shore.
Brad does something that might not make sense on the surface but seeing that he is riding a surf spot that can rattle any surfer means that he should not be discounted for his efforts. What he is doing takes a lot of work. Keeping the rails engaged is no easy feat on any wave without fins on your board.
After seeing the guitar player finish his 10th guitar solo of the evening and the singer leaves the stage to choreograph some more moves backstage, it is now time for the focus to shift to the Autoharp player who sits behind the keyboard player.
The spotlight is now on you my skimboarding brother of the shorebreak!
You’re a surfer too!