Surfing is an Art
Surfing is an art. It’s gotta be! Anytime you have to struggle so much in order to see progress it’s gotta be art. It’s something to be learned, honed, practiced, and polished. It’s not a skill you are naturally born with and it can be a huge challenge and choppy journey before you are able to catch your first wave.
I remember going out to Barbers Point in Hawaii with my sister. We had a board each and we were determined to catch some waves. This was only my second time out, so I knew I had a slim chance of catching anything. My sister, on the other hand, was already pretty good and went off to surf as many waves as she could.
I struggled to get out to the sweet spot, where all the other surfers were. It was windy and very strenuous to paddle over the waves. The fact that I didn’t really know what I was doing didn’t help either. Some surfers can read the waves. Me, I just went head-on into them all, though the wind kept pushing me closer and closer to shore. By that time my arms were jello, and the tasting of salt water turned into swallowing. I had been paddling for 30 minutes straight, though it felt like a week.
Panic started to go off in my head as I remembered my sister telling me, “Just make sure you don’t go over there….it’s too shallow and there’s tons of sharp coral.” It turns out I was heading to the exact spot she pointed to. If you’ve ever been cut by coral, you will know it doesn’t take much to puncture the skin after being tenderized by the salt water.
After even more paddling I was completely exhausted and started to consider that it would be easier to paddle with the wind and go towards the coral and take my chances. I had given up mentally and physically. At that moment my sister surfed up next to me, her smile turning into an expression of worry, then she asked if I was ok. I told her, “I’m just going to go in this way, I can’t paddle anymore.” She replied, “No Tav, the coral will cut you up. Come on, you can do it. Just keep paddling.”
I got a spark of hope and energy and followed her out of the rough waves and into the safe swimming area. I floated into safety on the same waves that were pushing me towards the coral. On the beach, on the warm sand, safe and completely exhausted.
The moral of the story is that sometimes as an artist, you may struggle to stay afloat, but you must continue and endure the long and rough journey before you. You may be mentally and physically exhausted, wanting to give up, but I’m here to tell you, just like my sister did to me, “come on, you can do it!” Just keep going! It’s a journey not a destination. Learn from your mistakes by putting yourself out there. Get feedback, build your skills, practice, study, share your work, be inspired by others, and soon you won’t be paddling as much. Soon you’ll be catching the waves, bigger waves, on your own and smiling the whole time.