Is Surfing Better than Sex?

Spitting salt water through the gap in my front teeth, I straddle my board waiting for my next 15-second joy ride to shore. I’m instant-replaying my last wave: a head-high mellow-roller that fools me into thinking that I’m actually a decent surfer.

Cutback, off the lip, full squat tuck, backhanding the spray… I feel relaxed, Zen and perfect. A pod of dolphins playing nearby adds to the stoke.

The sun is shining. Classic coastal Southern California vibe has returned for the first time in what seems like a long time. School children are curiously and excitedly bent over examining sea creatures that live rent-free in the tidal pools.

The swell has picked up. Offshore spray creates a beautiful moving canvas, complete with rainbows filtering through the specks of backspray. *********************

If there had been another week of rain with no surf bliss, I would have needed a straightjacket to keep me from fidgeting around my apartment. We’ve had some bad floods here and people have died. I can’t complain about lack of waves. I try to rid myself of any bad vibes that I might be experiencing because of the dreary weather.

During the long stretch of rain, I surfed a couple of times, but mostly, I surfed vicariously, watching surf DVDs on my laptop. One of the movies I watched was Morning of the Earth, a 70s-era classic surf film.

After a week of rain, I embrace the gray bleak dampness. I soon find myself bummed out if the sky filters one ray of sunlight.


There’s a strong tidal swing today. I scan the horizon and I think I see a massive wave building from miles away. Today, the tide is going out faster and will be shallower than any other day this month. After a few seconds, I realize that what I think is a rogue, clean-up monster wave is just a mirage. I reflect for a few moments on what it must have felt like for someone in Southeast Asia to realize a tsunami was headed their way.

The cold water starts to get to me but I realize that the last couple weeks of winter are here. The difference between 58 degrees and 62 is enormous. I feel like a kook wearing not only booties but thick gloves as well.

Maybe the cold water is a blessing. I imagine what my home break would be like if we had warm water 365 days a year. This town would be home to tens of millions. My secret spots wouldn’t be so secret.

Still, when it’s cold and grey and the waves aren’t anywhere near perfect, I wish I were a trust-fund baby who didn’t have to work so I could fly to Costa Rica on a whim. I masochistically smack myself in the face and remember to count my blessings. Being stuck where I am ain’t so bad. It beats being in Buffalo for the winter.

What keeps me here in this town week after week, year after year? After all, if I love surfing so much and Costa Rica has warm water and consistent surf, why am I not living there?

Maybe it’s those extra-large heavenly slices from my local pizzeria, Manhattan Pizza; maybe it’s the divebars I sometimes frequent with good friends; or maybe it’s the Thai food at Siamese Basil and the grilled fish taco’s.

Is it the food and drink that’s keeping me here? No, there’s much more to it than that.

Perhaps there’s more to life than surfing and living off of coconuts and reading in a palapa smoking the magic herb.

Maybe I’ll hang out in Costa Rica for a few months in the future, but for now, Life is Good where I am. And today, it’s doing me real good.

After catching a few more transcendental waves, I return back to terra firma, peel off my wetsuit, feel the sun beat down on my chest and I reflect on my best rides.

And this is why surfing for me will always be better than sex — meaningless, loveless sex that is.

When I want to reflect on something that will put me in a positive state of mind and ultimately connect me with what I think is my higher purpose in life—to experience love and feel gratitude towards whatever force brought me into this physical plane—I imagine my most memorable rides and the times that a dolphin or two swam within a few yards of me.

When I think about my best rides, I feel something that only a surfer would understand. When I want to feel blissed-out, I don’t think about the random hookups I’ve had, those which served only to fill time and a void, and to fulfill desires of instant gratification.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’ve realized that in this life, I want to be as true to myself as possible. And I feel my true nature is chasing waves, not babes.

Not to mention that the “orgasm” I experience surfing often lasts a lot longer …

Feeling blissful reflecting on the best waves I’ve ridden is something I don’t take for granted. Few on Earth ever experience this sensation. I thank God I’m one of them.


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