too many winters
Surfing heralds attrition …
.. from the point of view of a three score plus sixteen ancient who, without being anything other than competent in moderate surf, spent sixty years in the water. Water cold enough and immersion long enough to gradually amortise the feeder arteries that service your feet down to a quarter of their normal capacity.
Giving to that feeling when you stand on a wave and find your toes and feet have the sensitivity of a pair of wooden clubs and will not obey you.
This is not helpful.
Then there is the regular though slight dislocation of the hips as you sit astraddle your board for hour upon hour in the winter water. Year after year. Old men arise from their easy chairs patiently, using the arms for support. This old man is now standing on his wooden clubs and is halfway down the face of the wave when some hip mechanism subtly locks, it doesn’t matter which one.
This too is not helpful.
Abdominal muscles loosen their attractive hold on the lower torso of a surfer despite the hours spent lying on the bedroom carpet counting down two hundred and fifty leg-lifts twice day. These muscles once provided him with an encompassing external sheath that inhibited the internal progress of digested matter to the lower intestinal tract, the tract that is about to betray him as it is faced with the inexorable and unfettered final-stage descent of last night’s dinner.
Then it’s up to the eyes. Those almost visionless orbs that see three bobbing heads when only two are there. He thinks the inside mob clear his path out of respect. They don’t. They all have grandfathers who have cataracts and who bump into the same piece of furniture.
Unfeeling feet, unclear vision, protesting hip(s), the sudden urge to vacate an intestine and a reasonably solid lip on the way down.
Only a surfer knows the feelings.
header pic Tom Merton ABC