More times than I can remember, the ocean has brought me back to life, back to love, back to who I am and where I want to go; it has carried my dreams, carried me, encouraged me, taught me valuable lessons and humbled me.
I woke up this morning to lightning and thunder, accompanied by a blistering north-westerly battering my door. A bunch of what-ifs, maybes and uncertainties swirl around my mind. Big dreams I’m not sure how to make reality… Where to start? I feel small and a little bit directionless, exhausted by the patience life demands of us in order to bring us the good stuff.
I take a drive. The wind and the rain woo me to the ocean. I stop and stare – and it is here that my heart finds peace, that life seems bigger than me but not unbearable, and it is here that I come to understand that change is part of every day. Like the ocean’s tide, not one wave the same as the next, the water volume from ocean to beach, the wind, the currents, the weather – all of these change every day if not every few hours, few minutes, few seconds. Change, no matter how uncomfortable at times, when embraced is as beautiful and unique as every wave the ocean brings us.
I sit and watch 3-foot sets roll into the bay; the wind plays on the water’s surface and creates a beautiful array of colours as it forces the whitewater back with every forward motion. Holding, holding, holding until the waves find their destination unfolding in a poetry of sounds on a sandy beach.
I’ve been surfing for about 12 years now and it’s the ocean’s beauty, mystery and solitude that has kept me coming back. It’s a place of happiness, where the best of times have been shared in incredible places with the best of mates. The UK: Devon, Saunton, Boscombe Pier, Cornwall, Constantine. South Africa: Buffalo Bay, Cape St Francis, Long Beach, Durban, Transkei. Indonesia: Bali, Sumba, Scar Reef. Each a place of memories, silence, pondering and dreams where anything is possible and nothing impossible.
As I sit here watching the ocean, I offload, recharge and breathe. I have no expectations; it’s freedom in its purest form. I unravel, unfold, unwind. Here I can be myself. Here I feel most comfortable, most accepted, most loved. Here I found my home.
The ocean takes it all. Love it, respect it and you’ll have a life-long friend.