Being a Mavericks Surfer ©

A Story by Shinazy

mavericks, surferI’m peering through binoculars at dots bobbing up and down.  I see them in between one-inch high waves at the Mavericks Surf Competition.  Then something happens … The Wave emerges.   A surfer propels himself down the face of a 30-foot giant aqua-blue wall.  The top of the wave folds like a used Thanksgiving napkin and the surfer disappears into The Tube, swallowed.  My breathing stops, anticipating, will the athlete reappear?

While waiting my mind wanders to my first athletic endeavor and that of every city girl with a piece of chalk in her hand . . . hopscotch.  Yes, the children’s sidewalk game where we balance and jump on one leg, instinctively calculating ballistics before we toss our marker into poorly drawn squares.  Hopscotch, a sport for strong, skilled athletes.

We trained for years.  In just over 13 months, from our birth, we mastered synchronizing our feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips, spine, arms, shoulders, and head to move from one set of embracing arms to the outreached arms a short distance in front of us.  Over the next year we completed our first marathon over kitchen floors and living room carpets.  Some of us incorporated stair repeats.  Once we ran, we never stopped.  We were endurance toddlers.

Our training continued, constantly climbing the ladder on our favorite slide and using our abs to navigate the slope, ensuring we stayed within the low, cold, metal lips.  By kindergarten we were jumping rope.

mavericks, surgerWith every contest we competed against ourselves as well as the reigning first grade champion.  We desired to be in first place.  We practiced and played with determination to win.

It’s also during this time we risked bodily harm.  We were fearless when we wrote to Santa – we’re ready – we needed a two-wheel bike.  Those first days without training wheels frequently resulted in scraped knees and bruised elbows.  But we continued; we must learn this skill.  With nerves and experience we soon used our power and peddled, alone, to our friend’s house.

As the lone surfer emerges, he flips the nose of his board and starts to paddle out into open water to try again.

Try again.

It never crosses the surfer’s mind to head for the safety of the shore.  It was the same for us when we were kids.  Someone might say comparing Mavericks to hopscotch is comparing the sun to birthday candles.  Nay, I say.  Sometime in our lives, we, too, had athletic skills that represented equal ferocity.  Today is the surfer’s day and the waves his playground.

photos by creativeage and knapjack

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17 Responses to Being a Mavericks Surfer ©

  1. These are my rambling thoughts while I watched the Mavericks Surf Competition. Enjoy! ~ shinazy

  2. Malati Marlene Shinazy

    And, skating with four-wheeled, clamp the skate to the bottom of our sneakers skates… And, pogo stick: for hours & hours! — mms

  3. What a unique way to view childhood and growing up! Really enjoyed this!

  4. It takes great courage to get out into the 30 ft waves and allow them to move you forward. It also took great courage to get on that bike and learn to peddle on down the road at age 5. And it takes great courage to continue on as we are older, to never stop moving forward. Most of us have neither the wave or bike to push us along. We have our own inner strength and power……………..to keep moving forward with determination and grace.

  5. … climbing the tree in our backyard as a kid, or the monkey bars on the school jungle gym… to climbing a 100 foot cliff-face in the middle of nowhere (rock climbing, another love of mine)

  6. I was like this with jump rope. We started jumping in 4th grade and never missed a school day until we were suddenly too “mature” by the middle of 6th. We should never let go of that determination and willingness to take risks.

    • Taking calculated risk is one of the ingredients that make life interesting. And, I bet jumping rope is still good for our bones. ~ shinazy

  7. So cool you were at Mavericks. Thanks for the great story.

  8. Ooohhh yeah. Me and my bike! Once I mastered the basics I was on to riding with no hands — riding miles to the community library — riding home laden with books and shinning up a huge tulip poplar tree to read… Fearless! Determined. (smiling….)

    Great post!

    • Way cool! I still need to learn to ride a bike, but I think I’d be too scared to do the no-hands. But, I’m intrepid in other ways 😉 ~ shinazy

  9. Hey Boomer Babe, you write beautifully and I love your blog! I learned to surf, well, I started my long education in surfing, last fall on Maui, at an awesome little local’s beach south of Lahaina called Puamana Beach Park. “Triple ankle overhead” was what we jokingly called it, and perfect for us 50-somethings, perfect water, perfect weather, hop on your bike and head back to town for lunch. And guess what, all the locals our age were there ripping it, showing us how.. I’m going back!

  10. Malati Marlene Shinazy

    Just re-read this story, Sister. You are indeed a writer! Xoxo