| SURF OBSERVATIONS|
The Rainbow -- 8/31/97
On Saturday, my wife and I (mostly my wife) pulled off a chaotic birthday party for Taryn. She's a big girl now ("two 'ears old"). It's amazing how quickly she's growing and learning, and I'm still unbelieving that I'm a daddy.
In the late afternoon, the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors had their football season opener against Minnesota. Despite being a 13 point underdog, the Bows pulled out all the stops and rumbled over the Gophers by a score of 17-3.
After all the public sparring between Coach Fred vonAppen and state Governor Ben Cayetano, it's great that the team rose above it all and were successful. (Note: Here's to a speedy recovery for the Guv.)
Late Saturday evening was when we heard the shocking news--Princess Diana was killed in an automobile accident. I'm not one who follows the lives of celebrities, but I did have a silent admiration for Lady Di, and felt an overwhelming numbness over her loss. Death has a way of putting a lot of things in perspective.
It was with all these seemingly unrelated events on my mind that I went on a Sunday dawn-patrol with Russ. The remnants of Hurricane Jimena threw a bit of east swell (2-3'+ Haw'n) over, but we wanted to do some longboarding. I was tired of surfing backside, and wanted to ride somewhere a bit more challenging, so we chanced it out at Diamond Head Cliffs.
Paddling out in the darkness, I was somewhat disappointed (though not surprised), by the 1-2' surf (waist-to-elbow high). The winds were a bit stronger than forecast, blowing sideshore at maybe 10-20 mph, generating a bit of chop. And though we were the first group out, more surfers quickly sprinkled into the lineup.
Russ was having a tough time at the new spot. At first, he was a bit rattled by the low tide and the sucking takeoff, but he slowly got more comfortable out there. Russ later said that it was a pretty frustrating session for him overall.
Me, I was doing OK, but not great. No exceptional rides to talk about; just some hairy takeoffs and wobbly poses on the nose. Late in the sesh, we swapped boards, and that's when I realized how exceptional my board is. My board turns on a dime, but it can still provide a solid posing platform--I'm really happy with it.
Mid-session, a very small, but bright arc of a rainbow suddenly appeared over Manoa Valley. Was it a birthday well-wish for my baby girl? Was it a victory sign for UH Bows? Was it a colorful goodbye from a departing Princess? Or was it just a random atmospheric occurrence caused by sunlight refracting off the morning precipitation?
Well whatever it was, it made me ponder on life. Surfing is good in that way, in that it gives me a sanctuary where I can clear my head of extraneous thoughts and go into a near-meditative state (it's called "waiting *forever* between sets"). Excuse the rambling, but here are some of my thoughts:
Life truly is a dynamic thing. We all have our ups and downs, our good sessions and bad sessions, but it's our passions that define our existence. Anticipation in itself is worth living for.
We, as humans, are definitely moved by other people's triumphs and tragedies, but in the end, it's our own experiences that are the most fulfilling. You cannot live vicariously through the deeds of others--you must live your own life.
The people that matter to us the most are not celebrities or athletes, but our close friends and family. I AM a role model!
Surfing has always been a source of strength and inspiration for me. Now that I'm a bit more mature, I'm trying to pass on the stoke, not just by helping people get into the sport, but just by carrying myself with a positive presence. By feeling good about surfing and about life, I like to think that I can inspire others.
As suddenly as the rainbow appeared, it was gone. I guess it's transient nature makes it all the more precious. The same can be said about the waves we ride, the swells we chase, and even the lives we live.
After the sesh, I went home and hugged my wife and kid extra hard. Then I let Taryn "surf" on my stomach. She was stoked, and so was I.
Aloha from Paradise,