No matter how peace and love one wants to be, or wants others to be, sometimes we fall prey to our immediate reactions and needs, where even the telling of the story shows my own inability towards benevolence. The Zen of surfing makes all of our experiences out in the water relatable and symbolic on land. Today’s (surf) lesson is in the words “line-up” and “aloha”. I apologize but must begin this tale with a nod to Summer Roberts (dedicated to my sis NinaB), VIP character on the debatably bad teen drama The O.C. So if you (or your kids) ever watched the show, please pronounce “Eeeeew” in a way that might make her proud.
“Eeeeew”, yuck, are you serious?! The most straightforward, girlie reactions chattering in my head after a witless, myopic comment by an otherwise seemingly appealing surfer boy in the water the other day. He’s new to the islands; fresh from real O.C. (Orange County that is). I was scoping him out…not in that way -not my type- but nice to look at and a friendly chat between sets. There were only four of us out at this spot and enough waves to do an honest rotation. But like many who were never properly schooled in the lingo or had adequate opportunity to vibe the true aloha spirit of the sport (or mature enough to attain some hard-earned wisdom…or a mellowing enough to think straight etc….), there is a lack of comprehension of the seemingly obvious meaning behind the word “line-up.” Yes lil’ kiddles, it means wait your turn! Sure, it’s par for the course that on most solid days we all get a little excited to get our fill (we all have found ourselves being selfish – no one is immune!). But at least you’d assume on a gorgeous, mellow, sweet Hawai’ian afternoon with only a few guys out, that common courtesy would -with a little encouragement- kick in – right?
So when a local girl paddled over and waited patiently through about three sets -while the aforementioned guy paddled just inside her each time so she couldn’t have a wave of her own- I yelled, “let the girl go already!” To me it had nothing to do with the fact it was a girl or not, but since girls are oft too courteous or less aggressive they many times aren’t jockeying for the best position. So while they’re waiting their turn, so to speak, the guy goes, you know, that bit deeper and therefore claims the “right of way”. Even if it’s a piddly wave, they’re overcome with the need to have to take it. Or they’re obviously not in the right spot, too deep, but no one can go since they’re taking off, stuck in the white wash over the reef – whatta waste! Inevitably they’re just trying to control the scenario – usually it’s guys who aren’t the top dogs, often haoles hoping hopelessly to build up some kind of credibility and these smaller dayz are their moments to shine…so to speak. I’m sure it’s hormonal. Frequently this is the same guy who will whine, “the girls are always taking off in front of me.” Well, when one’s manliness prevents one from allow a girl to sit deeper, and you can’t let a wave pass if you can help it…after a while, just to shut you down in the very least, someone’s probably going to take off in front of you.
So anyway, back to my “Let the girl go!” request…he didn’t. He just couldn’t. And upon his paddle back out he purposefully passed close enough to offer me his contemplative explanation, which went something to the effect of “you guys lost out on that when you demanded equal rights.” Where was this guy coming from? What kind of upbringing makes a person think this way? Even if it were someone of the male gender sitting out there, waiting for their wave, I would have thought to let him go too. Because it’s a kick seeing everyone having a positive experience. The fact that you’re out there only looking to satisfy your needs takes about 99% of that cute and turns it ugly – eeew! When I mentioned the incident to my surfer Aunty she noted with her acute wisdom, “His comment was made to justify his ego.” Mmm, hmmm. No worries, I’ll find something else more worthy of my distraction between sets.
So, dude, go ahead and catch your waves; be deluded by the idea you have allowance for insolence because of things like the…“ERA”?! But remember this, we don’t need you to give us waves, what we’d like is for you to just chill out and not take our waves. Some girls go there, but not all wahines want to become aggressive jerks just to be able to surf, especially on mellow, uncrowded days when we can all afford to be gracious, flowing, laughing, deserving, enjoying, thankful for the ability to experience and share the fun.
Now…if the Dalai Lama were a surfer, what would he do? 🙂 “Be kind whenever possible…It is always possible.”