The ocean for my life has been my friend. My surfboard was attached to me like a worn pair of jeans. As a child, I spent most of my time in the water. Swimming down between the canyons of coral. Weaving like a turtle.
I was happy to be in the ocean again. The sun was bright and the nice sets broke on the outside sand bar. I was in my element.
I paddled. My frail arms barely pulling me. As I tried to duck dive, my hands could not grip the rails and my arm slipped away causing the board to violently smash me in the chest. I came up for air and like a lost sailor at sea pulled myself onto this board.
More hits and more times falling into the turbulence. Yet somehow I made it all the way out.
Then came the sets. My weak arms flapped at the surface. I lifted up and began to slide forward. “Stand up!” “Stand!” my mind commanded. But my body did not respond. I rode down the face and caught a rail. My body hit the water and the wave came down upon me.
Finally, I just hung on to the board and washed ashore.
Dragging towards the car, I ran into an old friend who knew my father. Mike looked at me for a second and scanned my condition.
“Geez…What happened to you? Are you OK?”
“Some problems, Mike.” “I’ve been really sick.”
Outing with Friends
A few months earlier I went canoeing with Pete and Wayne. Canoeing consisted of Pete and Wayne paddling the canoe. I felt the beams of light shining down through the forest canopy. I could only lay like a pile of cargo inside the boat. They occasionally reached back and handed me something to eat.
When we reached the dock, one grabbed my right arm and the other grabbed my left arm and they pulled me up onto the old wooden dock. Then I could only lay there like a drunken homeless person.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see people waiting to go into the restaurant. They seemed to be wondering what was wrong with this person. Why was he just laying there? Pete and Wayne tied off the boat and I just layed on my back. Waiting for them to pull me up to my feet. Even standing back up was not possible without help.
My friend Rob had entered the E.S.A. contest in Satellite Beach and I went with him for support.
“That guy is a pro” I heard some of the kids whisper in the group. My board was adorned with stickers from my many sponsors. I limped to the reef and made my way across the rocks.
I could stand up faster at this time and even pump down the line. Then I saw the wide shoulder.
“Open your chest up” I thought to myself. The board slung a long, lazy arc and connected with the white water. I smiled. It was the first time I could do a real turn. Progress.
On this day, I could see all the hours of exercise were paying off and my mind was able to focus in and get a response from my body.
I walked in with the same off stride but I felt like something of myself was returning.