As it always does, the beach scene as viewed from the surf line up seems serene and remote. Even here, amidst a cacophony of colorful umbrellas and a brass band stationed inches from the water mark of the rising tide, horns trumpeting a tinny Mexican melody. With my feet dangling in the blue as I straddled my longboard and the subtle rise of the rollers beneath me I felt at peace.
My relationship with surfing is a bit complicated. I love it from a distance, and then when faced with imminent breaking waves I’m occasionally timid — unsure of my place among the throngs of people who call themselves “surfers.” And, this Mexico trip was no different. The day we arrived, Rick raced to the beach and rented a board. I watched him, content to bob in the surf for hours.
But, when I did grab a longboard and head to the breaking waves the following day, I was greeted with the familiar and welcome sensation of paddling on to the breaking face of a gentle wave — the bouncing rush of momentum when the struggle to catch the wave morphs into a gleeful breakneck slide down its leading slope.
Rick and I marveled over it. What is it that makes it so addictive? I think maybe the fleeting nature is what gets me most. It is the ultimate flow moment when you stand up on a wave, focused on nothing but riding it to its completion. The sun and mariachi on the shore, and bobbing heads in the tide all morph into background static as you angle your board to the breaking wave and attempt to trace the line between racing down the face and hanging near the lip. It is one of the those meditative activities that, through no effort on your part, immediately brings your mind into a profound state of concentration– and bliss.
So, yeah. That was Mexico. Bliss. Surfing, and bliss.