By Michael Karlo Lim
THE Beach and similar movies were ripples that turned out waves of city folk to find their paradise. The romanticization of the back-to-nature lifestyle has instilled a lot of wanderlust and various levels of letting go. Whether it was to drop off the grid and go full island or just to take a weekend beach breather, the sand and surf have always had its draw.
I have a wealth of experience in the great outdoors but mostly the landlocked kind. What was a water baby from a former coastal resort town later couldn’t deny the association of the deep blue and the alternating pattern of notes in the theme from Jaws. It was that, a near-drowning, attractiveness to jellyfish and high photosensitivity that hold me back.
I’m in love with a mermaid, and I understand that it’s the occasional flipping of her fins that have gotten her this far. Or kept her sanity, at least. My reluctance is diminished mostly by the promise of beach eats, but such getaways have often proved rewarding for most of the wet part. I grew up on Hasselhoff’s Baywatch and had unfulfilled Kelly Slater ambitions. A Holy Weekend reroute to La Union opened a window of opportunity for actualization.
Dilapidated soft board rentals held together by hope and duct tape were part of the surfer starter pack along with swim shorts, sunscreen, and a lot of zeal. I picked out one in zebra-print for style points and to hopefully distract bystanders from a dismal performance. A quick instructional and return demo was all it took, and we launched ourselves into the water.
Between finding balance and keeping aware of or for fellow noobs is the wait and the feeling out of each wave. Then there was crash after crash, the physicality of literally rolling in the deep, a lot more falling seven times and standing up eight. The city boy expectedly didn’t take to the waves easily. The pressure was also higher than the swells with wipeouts on loop in front of surf god Luke Landrigan himself.
The freshly popped surfing cherry would be wont to harp clichés about physical health, spiritual fulfillment, and other epiphanies. It would be good to note that purported benefits of ocean air most likely go with the considerable amount of saltwater in your lungs. I have yet to swallow the surfing hook, line, and sinker and would only go as much as the takeaways of learning something new and the ecstatic moments in the process. There sure is more than just catching waves but ultimately it’s about having fun. If your life isn’t, then you’re just wasting your time.
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