Monday, October 19, 2015

Reunions - Old boards, old friends, old memories

Been a very interesting month or so for me.  First came the annual
Manasquan Classic Longboard Contest.  This is one of the only
2 contests I generally enter a year, and it's one that always brings a
smile to my face.  We started the contest a few decades ago just for fun.
You have to ride a pre-1968 classic longboard and there are only 2 rules
1) no rules and 2) no complaints.  The event is a chance to reunite with
old friends and people who you don't see or surf with that often.  It is also
a trip down memory lane.  The classic old boards are wonderful to look
at, albeit not always easy to ride. When was the last time you got a
chance to see over 100 classics lined up on the beach? When did you
actually get a chance to ride a board you might have had in the 60's?
There is a great photo of me trying with all my might to crank a bottom
turn on an old Weber Performer with a hatchet fin.  Guess I forgot that
you can't actually do that, you have to ride those
boards differently.  As you'd imagine with a gathering like that talking
story, reliving the "old days" is part of the fun.

The next event  was an actual reunion of the fabled Kiernan  Surfing
Association.  Kiernan was the name of the street leading to one of Long
Branch NJ's best surf break.  The street is long gone as are the
bungalows on it.  The great jetty and shoreline lined with poles are
gone as well. The bottom and structure that groomed swells buried
under tons of sand. Waves barely break at that once hallowed spot.
As I looked at the area from the beach it was unrecognizable.  The guys
who were members of the Kiernan Surfing Association were amongst
the best in NJ.  Surfer's like Vince Troniec, Charley Kunes who were
on the  Dewey Weber Surf Team, "Old Guys" like Big Mike and Duke
Fratten, both in their 90's, men we looked up to were all there.
Memories, stories, laughs, and photos were shared.

The final event of this "hat-trick" was my 50th high school reunion.
50 yearsis a really long time.  I saw people I've known for over 60
years! People from elementary school. My first girlfriend, team mates
from football and baseball, people I sat in classes with, people I
partied with,( in a 1950's and early 1960's kind of way) were all there.
Some were easy to pick out, they'd looked  similar to how they
looked 50 years ago with some grey and a few wrinkles, others
were unrecognizable, while others sadly had passed away or been
killed in war. Questions about those who weren't there, updates on
peoples lives created endless waves memories.

Each of these events were chances to reflect and look at how my life
has unfolded. Each event prompted me to be grateful for howit's all
has turned out. How often do you take the time to look back and learn?

 Every surfer has certain waves locked in our memories. We can recall
the smallest details, the break, the size, the shape all burned into our
brains. Life is full of little events, full of people, full of posibilities.
As someone at the  high school reunion said…"hey we're still here"!
As someone commented to me…"keep surfing!"  Good advice for us all.
Cherish your memories but enjoy your life. Remember those waves but
keep surfing and looking forward to the next swell you never know
what's to come.