Friday, April 17, 2009

Breathe in, Breathe out, Move on

I surfed this morning and it actually felt like a
warm sunny spring day.  April here in NJ isn't
always like that it is generally chillier than we'd like,
grayer than we'd hope, and wetter than we want. 
This year has been no exception as
we really have had our share of chilly April showers. 
Not today,  today we've got sun, warmth and waves

On my way to the line-up I passed a friend of mine,
a chiropractor by profession.  We greeted each other
with a smile and a knowing nod.  Robert (the chiropractor)
had posted a simple message on his facebook page a few
days ago.  The post was headed something like 3 simple rules for 
living.  The rules were; 1) breathe in, 2) breathe out, 3) repeat.
It reminded me of a Jimmy Buffet lyric "Breathe in,
breathe out, move on".

As our session went on I kept thinking about those simple
rules and realized a few more.  Surfing does make you think
sometimes.  A simple rule of surfing is stay in the moment and
go with what the wave gives you.  Today, with the swell angle not
being ideal, that rule was key.  Sometimes the lefts would wedge
up and you could find a tight little barrel.  At other times there was
a fun right with a nice little bowl.  Every once in a while a 
lined up right wall would appear.  We had fun with them all.
Taking what mother ocean gave us.

 I paddled in recalling  another simple rule, be grateful for what
 you have. I left the beach with a smile on my face and a song in
my head, "Breathe in, Breathe out, Move on".  Thanks Jimmy,
thanks Robert for the reminder.

Monday, April 13, 2009


About a week or so ago the body of a 4 1/2 foot
Mako shark showed up on the beach.  How this
particular shark found its' way to the beach is a
bit of a mystery and it is curious just how much
interest and emotion the shark arrival has created.

For some surfers there were the initial unsettling 
feelings. "I've surfed that break since I was a kid
and never really thought about a big shark being there,
kinda freaks me out" one said.  "I saw the shark and
got an uneasy feeling in my stomach" said one of
the 40 something surf girls who has, in fact,
only recently overcome a fear of the ocean.

For other folks the shark mystery brought on
feelings of sadness and anger.  Mako sharks don't
usually live in 43 degree water.  How did this one
get here.  The shark had its' fin, jaw and teeth intact but
had been gutted.  Who would do such a thing to a shark?
Some blame the death on commercial fisherman, their 
large nets and their propensity to kill fish in a thoughtless
way.  The ocean, according to many experts, has lost 90%
of it's large species.  It is rapidly being depleted as a food
source thanks to thoughtless fishing and human abuse.

So many thoughts and feelings from a single shark.  Each day,
as it rots on the beach, it becomes more of a symbol.  For most
the fear is gone replaced by questions and stark realities about
what we have done to the oceans, the planet, and to ourselves.  It
is now more a symbol of sadness and a different kind of fear.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Here today gone tomorrow

Yesterday was one of the better surf days in
a while.  The wind was strong, about 25 mph
sustained, blowing offshore.  The swell was in
the chest to head high range and there was no 
shortage of wedging peaks and decent barrels. 
Even in a 5 mil wetsuit it was a 2 session day.

Today the wind backed off a bit, the sun was bright
and the sky a clear blue.  A beautiful spring day but
the swell was gone.  Ankle to knee high peeling waves
greeted us this morning and kept me thinking about
what a difference a day can make.  Here yesterday, gone
today.  I'm stoked I got to enjoy the day yesterday, to
take advantage of the moment(s) while they lasted.

Life is certainly like our waves.  What a difference a
day, an hour, a few seconds can make. So much in 
our lives are like  the oceans waves, here today and
gone tomorrow.  A good job one day, gone the next.
A pile of assets one day, gone the next (or for many, what
seems like the next).  Many things seem as if they are
here today gone tomorrow.  So what do you learn from
this basic reality?  Yesterday I surfed, today I relished
the time I spent with friends and family.  I know that
in life as in surfing things change quickly.