Posted by: smithdavid | July 21, 2013

Shift in Phsyche

The light is fading by the time I pull Phoenix into the car park. Sticking out the back of Phoenix’s oversized canopy is my new 8’ custom, just picked up from Andre in Nahoon where in turn it was just dropped off by a courier.

A single light burns out from the empty lifeguard house into the gloomy dusk. There is no-one else out surfing and the waves look a little blown out and small. But after the three month lay-off and with the new board, there is nothing that will stop me from getting in now.

The board is light, fitting easily under my arm as I walk from the car park to the ocean. I put her down beside me for a while and stretch before attaching the leash and heading in.

murky at gonubie

murky at gonubie

I get in waist deep and then place her down on the water, jump on top so that my chest presses against her deck and she takes my weight. I’m determined this time around in Gonubie to kick the bad habit I developed of not going all the way out back but standing and waiting for re-formed waves.

I begin paddling and the board moves quickly over the ocean surface – Andre was right, this board paddles very easily.

Soon I’m out back, sitting on the board, waiting for a catchable wave. Back on shore, the lights from the houses that line the beachfront are beginning to burn.

I paddle for a wave, moving quickly along in front of it, thinking surely, this one will grip the custom the way the Incheydoney waves gripped the foamie time and again in September. There is a pull on the board and I make a few extra stokes. There is a brief rush and then I can feel that the energy has surged away without me. I feel a little sour, thinking foolishly of omens and what this will mean for the next wave and the one after that.

small, blown out waves...

small, blown out waves…

I paddle for another wave and it goes without me too. Despite the running I did in London before I came out and later in Jo’burg, I breathing hard, gasping.

Surely Incheydoney was the seminal moment in my surfing, I think, surely after surfing wave after wave that day, something has shifted in my surf psyche and, like riding a bike, I’ll always get up on waves from that day on, especially on a floaty 8ft.

Another wave leaves me behind, I go down on to my chest, paddle back towards the light from the lifeguard house light.

There is another now, maybe 3ft high, I paddle again, this is what you have to do. This one picks me up just before it breaks and I rush out ahead of it, shifting my weight this way and that, the 8ft not as responsive as Matilda but still moving with my momentum.

On I go, shorewards, eventually jumping off when I think of Andre’s high performance fins which scraping on the ocean floor.

The one ride was enough, I want to stay in and really test the new board. But it’s almost dark and the sea and beach are almost deserted.

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