Just how dedicated of a surfer do you think you are?
You surf more than once a day, work out and train for the ocean every day, and you swim across Waimea Bay a dozen times back and forth for endurance. Perhaps you even eat healthy and have given up the drink altogether for a more well-rounded lifestyle geared for surfing at your peak best? Is that dedication to surfing?
I have been surfing at a new break as of late, and have arrived at a point where the regulars now look upon me as one of the fold … still new enough to be the new guy, but proven enough that my surf skills do not come into question. Amongst these dedicated dawn patrollers is a quiet and often times solitary man … keeping to himself most days, and engaging in little idle chatter. But he is out there most days, rain or shine, through small and large waves. He smiles sometimes when he catches a sizable wave, but only slightly and often only to himself.
I see him walking towards the beach most early mornings, carrying his recognizably orange and white surfboard and a rolled up sleeping bag. I also see him walking back from the beach most days, shirtless and solemn, carrying his board and blanket. In his green camouflaged military style jacket, he is quite recognizable even in a crowd. Quiet and focused.
He is one of the many homeless people that live near this new break I have been surfing.
But he is also quite different from most homeless people I see there. He is a surfer … a dedicated surfer. He walks miles to the break with his only worldly possessions in hand – surfboard and sleeping bag – and surfs the morning light into day. And returns quietly to wherever the day takes him at the end of every session.
I am haunted by his dedication to this sport of kings, and his unwaivering willingness to pursue an activity that some people consider as frivolous, as “fun”. At a time where there is much pain and anguish in this modern world, where people are challenged to find joy amidst soaring unemployment and economic hardship, here is true passion and dedication from an unlikely character.
How dedicated are you now?