The Obsession Progression

It's taken a lot of time, this surfing shit. From common kook to confident cross steps. I mean, it sure as hell didn't happen over night. It wasn't that long ago I couldn't even kick out, or control my trim. I was, like a lot of people, a passive participant. Surfing the occasional Saturday, when the sun showed up. The idea of looking for waves in the winter seemed like a dark and dreary impossibility. No way was I willing to withstand the wind and the cold and the uncertainty that comes with surfing the Straits after summer. A pompous asshole? Perhaps. Only wanting what could come easily. But was I getting better? Was I surfing like I should have been, given the number of years since I had started? Certainly not.

I suppose it was that first winter we decided to surf that I began to improve, ever so slowly. Trimming was my first trick. Finding some sort of rhythm - shuffling my feet forward to increase acceleration. It worked well, however I was still somewhat of a one-trick-pony when the swell stacked up: big bottom turn, toward the top, then pull out like I misplaced my prophylactic as soon as the water turned white. Amateur hour. All winter. Slowly, though, things started to come together. One leading into another. My shuffle for speed soon became a single step. My bottom turns no longer took a lot of time, and my ability to make a white washed section of a wave improved immensely. Progress. Finally.


Right around this same time someone (who shall remain nameless) suggested I might be obsessed with surfing, insinuating that I was spending too much of my time waiting for waves. I disagreed, although I have been known to obsess over an idea or activity - Magic: The Gathering being the most embarrassing. For this to make more sense, allow us to time travel to 2010. After being hired as the Marketing Manager for Touratech-USA (an adventure motorcycle outfitter), it was no longer necessary for me to spend my Saturdays and Sundays at the race track, which my previous position as the Creative Director for a car racing website required. It was unusual at first, working Monday through Friday, but the benefits began to outweigh the obstacles. I could finally spend my free time surfing. And the fact that Karissa (my then girlfriend) had also taken a job with a similar schedule, allowed us to escape the city around five on Fridays, together. It was a summer that certainly didn't suck.

I started to take surfing more seriously. Looking to improve on the foundation laid by my father, I bought a new board, sorted out a second suit and studied a few films. Obsessed? Sure. But it was working. I started to catch more waves and finally figured out how to put a few piggies on the end of my plank. Soon I was surfing beyond my boards abilities and began shopping for new sticks. I bought the Blue Banana. And then it was winter. We continued to camp, though, sleeping in the tent we'd purchased at start of the summer. But living in a small space on Alki left us with little room for wet camping crap, and we soon decided it'd be better to sleep in the back of the Silver Swede, or rent a room when the weather was really bad. But two or three days can turn to one in the winter, as surfing the Straits is not an easy exercise. Fickle it is. Perhaps that's why a lot of people start that snowboarding stuff.

When I think about the last few years - the countless weekends we've spent camping, searching for surf - I can't help but smile. I know I've missed football games and birthday parties, a whole lotta holidays and a bunch of binge drinking, but I can't think of anything else I'd rather do with my weekends. Because I've become better. I can surf pretty alright. And it feels like all of that time and energy has paid off in some silly way. And besides, obsessed is a word lazy people use to describe the dedicated. So I suppose I am obsessed with surfing. Which is alright. Because if that means I'll get better, well, fuck it.
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