Credit Photo: Jeremy Le Chatelier
I woke up dizzy that morning. Was I hungover from yesterday’s night, from all the cheap beers I was pouring down my throat? I wish it was only that, a usual hangover where your life feels shitty, and you wonder where all your dreams disappeared to. Where you wonder what happens to the last guy you wish you could have called your lover for more than a moment. Where all you want is to stay hidden behind the sheets and avoid any social interactions.
But it wasn’t a hangover, even though I wished. It was an encounter that I will never be able to forget, an encounter I didn’t even knew could be possible. I met surfing, and then when I thought love would tear us apart like Ian Curtis used to say, I fell in love with the thing that will never leave me. I don’t know how it happened; it wasn’t the plan. My plan was to go back in the UK, get accepted to a good university and become a fashion journalist. My plan was to own a Chanel bag and a bright career ahead. My plan was huge, you know, but now, it was shredded to nothing more than four words: where are the waves?
Since that day, it seems like my head got disconnected. Every time I hear something about the sea, every time someone talks to me about boards, I lost control of myself and talk about it for hours. I am sure it happened to you as well, getting hooked on the sport to the point that you get lost in it, to the point that it takes the complete control of your body, and you are now a meaningless puppet that the surfer God control. You cancel all your trips to random places that don't involve some waves; you quit school to follow your dream (what’s your dream now?) and you even quit your whole social life to go somewhere where the internet isn’t even a word. You want to find absolute peace and be serene by yourself, in the sea. You become a vegetarian because you care too much about the fish, you complain about people using plastics as it goes into the ocean and you spend endless nights watching surf contests. You don’t know what’s so attractive about it, but oh god, this is soooooo much better than hockey or any other sports with a freaking ball. You stopped thinking about a future ahead as what you are streaking for is a hurricane. Now, you don’t want a house to have kids at, but a caravan to be on the road chasing the best swells of your life. What about your soul mate? He needs to surf, or it won’t work, impossible. But it’s not like being with someone was something in your mind at the moment, being alone is way easier to catch the more waves and travel anytime you want to. You now seek a career that involved talking about the thing that is pushing your life, and you wouldn’t even be able to explain why. It’s now like a drug, and you are an addict. No cure possible, no rewind exists. You’re stuck. Your life is ruined. You found it, so now all you have to do is to keep the curse forever as your ally.
Surfing screwed up my life. Not because it brings me the joy of sliding on a wave or enjoying the pouring rain falling on my body while being at sea. It screwed up my life when it showed me what was lacking in this life I created when I was I younger, that life that was the curse. Surfing showed me what was not supposed to be part of me. It made me realize that it was all about the present, all about the now. It showed me that if you have a passion and work hard to focus on it, it will eventually bring you joy. It made me realize that nature isn’t a forever thing and that we should work our ass off to be sure we will be able to enjoy it in 20 years. It made me realize that enjoying the little things isn’t a simple quote to write on your Facebook walls but has a real meaning. Standing up on your board. Tasting the salt on your lips. Being exhausted by a good session. Going for the waves you are scared of. Skipping the party to enjoy surfing at dawn. Watching the sunrise. Watching the sunset. Understanding something that a lot of people ignore: the secret of the sea. The way it can change a man. And it was way better than pouring down my throat some whiskey given by strangers. It was way better than a hangover. And it became my life.