Excitement and contentment in the space between the waves

photo courtesy of Eitan Miller

Michael Suriel, 11th Grade

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When you go into the ocean with a surfboard, hours feel like minutes. The contradicting excitement and calmness you feel simultaneously is unique, and your desire to stay in the water is ironclad.

This summer, I surfed about three times a week at Southern California beaches, wearing a wetsuit with the water unusually cold.  I don’t understand why most kids don’t surf or try to surf during their summer vacation.  The weather is usually warm, dolphins are swimming relatively close to shore, and the waves in beaches such as Zuma, Huntington Beach and Manhattan Beach are well shaped.

On the day school ended, I started searching for friends to surf with that weekend. I asked all of my friends who I thought would be interested, but everyone said no.  Right when I had almost given up hope, my friend Jessica Richman from New Jewish Community High School, asked me if I wanted to go surfing on Sunday.

The moment I entered the water I was overwhelmed with both anticipation and the cold. The water was shimmering, the sun was out, and the ocean was untouched, left for us. It was my first day surfing, since the preceding summer, and nothing could have been better.

The waves were great, closing off to the sides instead of collapsing all at once; they were also well-sized, averaging about four-and-a-half feet during the “set waves,” which occur about every 10 minutes for about three to six waves.

As if this weren’t enough to make a great surfing day, in between sets, while Jessica and I were laying on our boards, waiting for good waves, several dolphins popped out of the water and swam by us peacefully.

Making sure to keep our distance—as California state law prohibits individuals from swimming within 50 feet of dolphins—we followed them for quite a while until a wave we couldn’t resist finally came.

Surfing isn’t only about popping up on your board and catching a wave when it comes; waiting for the waves can bring just as much enjoyment as riding them. Leonardo Da Vinci said: “Inaction sap[s] the vigor of the mind,” but sometimes remaining stagnant can be as thrilling as acting.

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