A Quick Paddle before the Storm

With another major storm system moving in the area within the next 24 hours, I decided to paddle out despite the flat and choppy conditions. Kept my surf muscles in shape by paddling to a few different breaks. The flat was surf. I felt lethargic today from the dreary weather and strong magnetic pull of the approaching full moon.

My mind today would repeatedly lose its focus on the beauty of the horizon and instead drift towards the petty dramas in my life as well as the endless geo-political quagmires.

I paddled a handful of minutes to an inside break north of where I usually surf and caught a couple knee-high waves that broke like they were last night’s spilled beer at the bar, all foamy and crumbly.

I tried not to think of anything except the beauty of the moment as a squall line approached dozens of miles from the west. Thick, grey bubbly clouds reflected back a blinding glare. Mother nature taunted me, told me that for the next few days I’d better do without my surf bliss because within 12 hours, it will start raining heavy; not Florida hurricane-worthy, but significant enough to overflow the sewer system here and contaminate the water for the next 72 hours. (No me gusta hepatitis!)

I drifted back to how I felt about my life at that certain moment. Besides enjoying my surfing and life, being a beacon of kind, compassionate and non-judgmental character (as much as humanly possible), how else could I help humanity, or what can many of us do as a community to foster change in the issues we feel are not right with the world.

Take the crisis in the Sudan, which I thought about while I was waiting for the next meager set wave to form. Genocide is taking place there. How to stop it? Why aren’t there tons of U.N. troops preventing rape and murder in Sudan? If humans were innately altruistic and fraternal to one another, there’s no way something like this would be allowed to continue.

Imagine thousands of regular people like me and you going to a peaceful neighboring country of Sudan, say Chad, and lining up at the border demonstrating. Maybe this global community of concerned citizens would actually be able to actually go into the Sudan and protest at the government capital building.

Sounds like hippie, one-world propaganda, right? Well, while straddling my board waiting for a wave that seems like it will never come, I can’t help but feel depressed that in the 21st century, genocide still takes place and billions of people don’t do anything about it, including myself.

So I thought about some of those Sudanese refugees. I thought it would be nice if everybody on Earth got the chance to have the abundance of a middle-class U.S. citizen. We’re the financially and materialistically wealthiest society in history. Should it be our duty to share the wealth with the billions who live on less that $2 a day? I’m not sure, but I’m just flowing with this wave of thought.

I pictured myself flying to the Sudan and bringing back with me an orphaned Sudanese boy. I would teach him how to surf (and swim if necessary). Some surfers with radically different pan-global views than what I have might say, “That’s all these crowded breaks need, an African surfer who can’t even swim.”

I’d much rather share waves with refugees who would be so stoked to surf, recognizing it as a divine expression in personal freedom and connectivity with nature, as opposed to competing for precious waves with coastal transplants who were lured to surfing by a trendy car commercial.

Maybe I’m just a dreamer. There’s a song that says I’m not the only one. I’m not sure if I’m going to adopt a future Sudanese surfer, only time will tell. For now, time to ride the last one in.

Walking home, I picture my adopted Sudanese surfer beaming with pleasure at the thrill of having just surfed, even though the conditions kept almost everyone from even getting in the water today. The image of that hypothetical smile will keep me going during the next few rain-soaked and surfless days.


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