Today I broke aboard for the first time in my life. Not wrong in 8 years of surfing! I’ll tell you how it was and what unexpected feelings it caused in me.
It is a story without pictures; trust your imagination and words; together, they will draw everything a million times cooler than any photo.
So, April 8, 2020, the height of the pandemic. In Bali, surfing has been banned for the second week already; exits to the beaches are boarded up and guarded by local heads of villages.
The beaches were closed gradually, now there are still a couple of places where you can ride, but travel there is quite far, and somehow you still feel like a violator.
This night was not just a full moon, but one of those few in the year when the moon is incredibly close, giant.
In general, the decision was evident, and in general, I had been planning this for a long time – to climb over the fence at night and go for a drive on my favorite home spot, Old Mans.
It is not my first experience of night surfing, but the last time it was about five years ago, on knee-deep waves. This time the waves were big.
It swayed so severely that I would have sat at home regularly without the ban on surfing. But then it seemed to block me.
Not in the sense that I turned on inadequacy, but on the contrary, incredible calmness and clear confidence – I’m going.
While we were warming up, we looked at the waves, and the guys were discussing that wow, how pumped up. I say yes, it’s okay. They laugh – you can’t see. I saw. But I knew that I was going.
While rowing, I ask Dimon: do you feel like a breaker of the law? He replies that, on the contrary, some incredible calmness and freedom. I agree 100%.
We are sitting on the lineup. We swing on the waves passing under us: up and down, up and down.
They are healthy. It is hushed, and only each closing wave pierces the space with a deep roar that penetrates the core.
You can see yourself well, the moon shines like a lantern, but it’s still dark in the distance.
But it is not clear what it is, how big and sharp, how quickly it approaches, where it is generally, a meter from you or ten.
On the sensations, you lie down on the board and begin to paddle, constantly looking back and trying to see what is going on.
And only at the last moment, a moment before collapsing, a thin strip of reflections of the reflected moonlight flickers on the same ridge. God, how beautiful it is!
You have to rake it up blindly, on sensations alone. How sharp the wave wall only becomes apparent when it lifts the board’s tail because, at this moment, you can look sideways and see the slope from the reflection of the moon flares.
The size, however, is still difficult to estimate; it just becomes clear whether you have time to hit the wall before it collapses. I do a couple of powerful strokes; I feel like I’m starting to slide.
Then, out of total darkness, a wall rises in front of me, burning with reflected silver light. I can feel the speed with all my skin; I can hear the whistling in my ears.
However, this is not even a whistle; it is some ringing note. So a big wave sings to the surfer who rushes along with it.
I look at the luminous wall that grows in front of me; it goes into the distance, absolutely vertical and one and a half times taller than me.
Realizing that now all this will collapse, I abruptly turn to the side of the coast, and a moment later, an explosion occurs behind my back.
I am sharply spat forward; I can see a giant wall of boiling white foam behind me and with a peripheral vision on both sides.
Then, having passed a little ahead, I jump off the board, relax, and surrender to the whirlpool. The body is weightless; it flies, filled with bliss.
This moment is worth it all—a few seconds when nothing else exists.
The body decides and does what is needed, and the consciousness observes and explodes with fireworks of emotions, knowing precisely that the universe loves me.
I surface and look towards the ocean. On the next wave, Max rides, also turn to the shore when she slams, and I understand the scale of the action: I see the black outlines of his figure against the background of white foam twice his height. It’s hard to believe that I was just there.
And then I swam to the lineup and came, probably the most extensive set of that night. The moon flashed on the crest of the closing wave too close but still higher than me.
It is a mesmerizing sight from such an angle, as in slow motion, the black mass falling on you in-flight turns into a sparkling white veil, devours all the space, taking you with it.
I took the next breath with half of the board.
I, of course, painted such a picture as if I had a ride on Nazar.
But it’s even more enjoyable for me to observe its aftertaste. All the years that I’ve been riding a longboard, I’ve had a phobia – breaking the board.
Because custom longboards are expensive, and in general, you get attached to them, it is difficult to call them consumables, as short boarders often say about their boards.
And I always thought that it would be a three-act tragedy and an Oscar-worthy drama when I broke the long. Tears, bitterness, annoyance, anger. Anything but what happened.
Complete, total calmness. Well, yes, I did. But the only thing I feel is boundless gratitude to the board and the ocean for those five waves I left today.
From the conclusions: firstly, fear has large eyes. If I saw such waves in daylight, I would not start on them; I would be scared.
And at night, it is not visible; you understand the size only already on the wave, but at that moment, you are already driving, and it is too late to be afraid.
The body feels everything and moves incredibly clearly when the head does not interfere. The body was not scared.
Moreover, I am sure that if the conditions were not really for me, I would feel fear at the body level and leave. Turning off vision and thereby the brain, it turns out to dive deeper into self-confidence.
Secondly, after almost a day, I am still in some incredible state of confidence that everything is exactly as it should have been, and I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
When I sat with the guys in anticipation of the wave, I felt so good inside that I was there where I would not invite my girlfriends with me.
Instead, I called for a fool in the evening, but I was happy later that they did not go. But there was a place for me.
On the contrary, I always praise myself for the ability not to “fight against fear” but to calmly leave the conditions that are not comfortable for me.
But there I felt in my place. Like a small pawn on a chessboard, which stands next to the rook, bishop, and queen, but realizes that it is not superfluous here, but just suitable for some complex and incomprehensible combination itself.
But you can’t do without her. It seems to me that, in principle, this is an important feeling that gives strength and courage in life. I want to test it in every action and decision.
And finally, the most remarkable thing that allows me not to regret the broken board is the feeling that I gave the universe something valuable with an open heart, and it has many times cooler gifts for me.
I checked on myself, and I know, taking something, life gives something more. Invariably, this is how it works. The main thing is to relax and let it be.
So I see the broken board as a little shamanic sacrifice. I have already received something more expensive than aboard, but I will not be left without aboard.
And as a result, for those who have read to these lines. Guys, such moments, such emotions are the most precious thing in the world.
And any material loss is nothing compared to the prospect of never experiencing it. So I wish you to listen to your heart and not be afraid. It is happiness.