I went to the first Friends of the Surf surf carnival today at Ocean Grove. This is a new surf carnival being sponsored by Funds Management in the Uniting Church, and organised by my colleague Peter. It was the first cold day of the year – the temperature barely got into the teens, the gale force wind was straight off the antarctic, it hailed as i was driving down. 45 keen young surfers – some of them the best young surfers in the state – were battling it out in the waves. Madness. As one of the judges said at one point “It’s a real test of the heart and soul of a surfer out there today".
To begin with, I thought that line was about commitment and courage, sheer determination. it was when the weather got colder and rougher and they were still running into the waves that i realised that could only cover a tiny part of it. this was a test of whether your heart belonged to the water… that no matter what the weather is, you know it’s better to be out there than on the shore… that life is best when you’re riding a wave… that if there’s a wave to ride, it simply wouldn’t occur to you not to ride it.
You could actually see it in their eyes – an exhiliration born of being in the place they most want to be.
how lucky they are to know where that is.
Incidentally, it occurred to me later that i hadn’t seen a single mobile phone for the entire day. Why would you need to text someone when you are with the people, and in the place, where you want most to be?