Posted by: smithdavid | November 11, 2012

Weightless

Scorge has an outside table at Kneads, Muizenburg when I arrive. He’s sharing with two strangers, or they’re sharing with him – I’m not sure which. The sun is warm and it’s good to be in just shorts and a T-shirt. There is a week of distance between the cold, dark of London and I.

Scorge has already run a half-marathon, it’s ten o’clock.  I’ve just got up but I don’t feel guilty, I’ll be surfing soon. Why would you possibly run if you can surf?

Scorge is looking at the menu with vague interest. ‘Should eat something, I guess…’ he says.

‘You haven’t eaten since you finished?’ I ask.

‘Nah…’

‘You should eat straight after…’ I say, remembering my marathon days. The two ladies sharing the table agree. The conversation shifts to where one should live. Two out of four have the security of Europe. Scorge won’t live anywhere other than Cape Town. The desire to live here rises and falls like the tide in me, sometimes I ready to move back tomorrow, others I think my time in London has only just begun.

kite surfing is scorge’s thing…

‘Think you should use a long board today,’ Scorge says, looking at the meagre waves. Kite-surfing is his thing but he knows some about the ocean. His saying it allows me to reason around my pride – I take the yellow biscuit back to Lifestyle and change it for a nine footer.

Scorge goes home to rest and I feel the warmth of the nourishing African sun as I change into my wetsuit. I smear Island Tribe sun cream on my forehead and into my (also meagre) hair. It’s like Vaseline and feels like it will keep my fair skin safe.

Now I’m shoulder depth in the water. I’ve walked the nine footer in, the small waves are easily penetrated. A wave, one-two feet high, comes. I turn and paddle, the board catches, the rest should be easy. But I lose my balance and the next thing I know, I’m in the water. A furious disappointment flares within – surely on this long board I should be making waves.

The next wave comes and I paddle and I’m on her and up before long. I should be able to do this on a short board, I’m thinking. The board keeps going, the ride is longer than the same wave would’ve been on the short board.

When I’m out back again, there is time for reflection. Surely the point is to be on the board as long as possible and whichever board facilitates this best is the one I should be using.

someone feeling that weightlessness…

The next wave reaches me and I take her and she carries me and I make it all the way to the shore. Still my ego plagues me about using a shorter board. But the sensation is like a dull headache and the rush of riding a wave far outweighs it.

I take wave after wave this way. In the back of my mind I’m still justifying using a long board – my age, I don’t live at the sea, I’ve just started. But there is also a sense that all of that doesn’t matter, each instant of weightlessness is all that counts.

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