Monday, December 2, 2013

Rubber quiver

I often joke with people about being a surfer in the mid-atlantic 
northeast.  Those are places that, with the exception of the summer,
most folks don't associate with surfing.  The average non-surfer
generally thinks about surfers and surfing in tropical places.  They
imagine guys in board shorts and , thanks to popular media and
fashion, girls in bikinis. They rarely think about surfing and wetsuits.

Surfers in places like New York and New Jersey, not generally
thought of as surf meccas, have learned that they must be prepared
to adapt to changing water temperatures and adjust for each season.
Sure dressing to surf in July through September, when the water is
in the high 70's and the air summer like, is easy. Throw on your 
board shorts or bikini and maybe a light 1 mil vest/top or spring suit
for the slight dawn patrol chill and you are good to go. If the air
has that morning chill maybe you need a springer or top with long

As summer winds into fall the water temperature drops a bit as does
the air. Fall usually means it's time for the 3 mil and late fall (November
and early December) when the ocean is warmer then the air usually
requires a hood and even a step up to a 4 mil and grab the boots and
gloves.  Then it's winter. When the combination of water and air temps
are usually a total of 70- 80 (30 to 40 degree air plus water barely 40),
it is time for the heavy suit, the 5 or 6 mil with a hood, 7 mil boots, and
gloves. Not at all the bikini or boardshort look.

So, what does all this wet suit talk have to do with life? Pretty easy
to see that to enjoy surfing, and to enjoy life, you've got to be prepared,
capable of adapting to change, and have a pretty good set of coping tools.
Sure, in some places like the tropics life and climate are easy.  The tools
for surfing and enjoyment are relatively easier. But, even in the topics
surfers deal with other issues - reefs, urchins, searing sun. Their coping
tools for those things must be different. 

Research on happiness tells us that to be happy we need to be able to adapt
to change and have a range of coping behaviors. Just like surfing - a rubber
quiver with many alternatives is vital to being happy. After all, in life
we surely can count on change and those of us who are able to adapt
enjoy the ride a lot more than those who's quiver is limited.