Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What surfing means to me and how it chaged my life

Well here goes my first installment of my weekly surfing blog. Before I get started, as an update things are progressing well with the upcoming release of my novel "The Nonconformist". My friend and photographer Jed Waldo took photo's for the cover which I sent to my publisher. It also seems very likely now that my screenplay adaption of the book will become a movie. More to come later.

My life's journey especially when surfing is involved has been a long and interesting one to say the least (learn more from my personal story "Chicken of the Sea"). In that book I say that surfing saved my life and I still feel that way. After almost drowning at a young age in Atlantic City I became extremely afraid of the ocean and despite becoming a competitive swimmer and sailor I didn't dare venture into the ocean off of Long Island where I live. That fear coupled with a very low degree of self-confidence made surfing an activity I never dreamed of pursuing.

That all changed however when our Science teacher Kevin Kelly who was part owner in Bunger Surfboards started a surf club at Bay Shore High School where I attended in the 60's. Due to constant prodding from my friends I joined the club, bought a used board and one day finally got up the courage to paddle out. I only caught a few waves that I rode prone that day but the feeling I got from it, though not removing the fears I had, instilled a stoke in me that has lasted to this day.

I firmly believe now that God gave me surfing to give me the strength and confidence I needed then and now that has gotten me through all the trials and tribulations of my life and has led me to the point of being able to even write about it with so much passion. Besides God and family it is the glue that helps bind me together. It is truly a dance for me and helps me to express myself in ways I can't fully explain or understand.

Though now in my sixties I still am a grom at heart. I approach every session like it was my first and am still trying to learn new things. I own five boards between a 5'11" modified twin fin (my primary board), a 6'2" thruster I shaped myself, a 6'4" hybrid thruster, a 6'8" thruster and a 9' longboard.

I am extremely blessed to be able to ride all of those boards, teach surfing to others and enjoy the sport. I know that one day the wheels will fall off so to speak and I hope at that time I will accept it and be content to live off of the many fond memories I have of the sport. But until that day comes I will continue to make the most of the gift of surfing that has been given to me.

I hope that the sport has meant as much to you as it has me and if you do surf I hope you continue to enjoy it for as long as you can. If you've given it up and miss it or feel you're too old to start up again then give it another shot. And if you never have surfed for whatever reason (maybe too scared like me) but wanted to then give it a shot. It might just change your life.

Until next week take care. Aloha, Paul

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