Thursday, February 03, 2005

Positive Vibrations...Positively

Amazing day.

Mid-70's, offshore wind all day long, dry as a bone, and still a little swell leftover.

Okay, it could have been bigger and a lot more consistent, but I'm not complaining. It was like summer, only better, because the wind blows onshore all summer long.

My regrets from yesterday spilled over into today, so I sacked up and paddled out southside. Lo and behold I had it almost all to myself. Most of the Lennys kept to the northside, and my only company to the south were a couple of local, mid-20's delinquents, sharing stories of, I think, either DUI or anger management was hard to tell. There were also a couple of teenagers yelling and going out of their way to be as obnoxious as possible, but they left after a half hour or so.

A couple of longboarders joined us for the last 45 minutes, but for a solid hour it was just me and the southside lefts.

Anyhow, I'm kind of putting off talking about what I actually wanted to mention today. Being a smarmy obeservationalist is kind of my MO, so diverting tends to require some warmup laps.

A family friend...a kid named Wylie, who's only going through treatment for brain cancer. I don't want to go into all the details, but suffice it to say that he's going through hell and so are his parents. Cancer, as most of you well know, is one of those diseases that is usually accompanied by treatment that seems almost worse than the illness itself.

So my cousin emailed me the other day and asked everyone to pray for Wylie, who's coming off a hellish week of infections and sickness brought on by a weakened immune system (if the cancer doesn't kill you, the chemo will). He also mentioned in the email that he knew some of us weren't religious, but that he was a great believer in energy...positive energy...and if we could flow some of that Wylie's way, his family would appreciate it.

Well, I'm not much for religion. Not at all, to be honest. But I am a big believer in energy...both positive and negative. Maybe I was a little too obsessed with Star Wars as a young grom, but the idea of an energy force flowing through all of us, through everything, makes a lot of sense to me. Be it mystical or scientific, I think that's one of the things that drew most of us to surfing in the first place. Off all the "natural" sports and activities, surfing is by far the most interactive...we're literally riding waves of natural energy. It's fairly mend-bending when you really stop and think about what we're doing.

Years ago my grandfather died and that night I paddled out at the River Jetties in Newport for an evening sunset session. I loved the idea that my grandfather's life force, or whatever you want to call it, had been returned to the giant pool of raw energy coursing around and over and under and through the planet (hell, the universe). And what greater bastion of raw energy is there than the ocean?

For an hour, while the sun set, I surfed beautiful, glassy waves - raw energy, of which my grandfather was now a part of.

If this sounds hokey to you, I wouldn't blame you. A while back I wrote a rather surly attack on Danny Nichols, so you might want to go back and re-read's still pretty funny and there's not of shred of earnest philosophizing anywhere near it.

But for those of you that surf...and for those of you who have lost people you love...I know you get where I'm coming from, whether you're a participant in an organized religion or not.

So today, which really was a beautiful day, with some of the most amazing looking conditions you'll ever see anywhere, I passed along some positive energy to Wylie. When the sets rolled through, and the Santa Ana's blew their tops off into the sky, and the sun lit them up from behind like lime green Jolly Ranchers, well, I wish he could have seen them. I think they would have blown his mind.

I hope he gets better. I understand that it's going to be a rough road no matter what. I have my own children now so I'm not really capable of thinking about it too deeply.

Either way, right here, in this concrete jungle, right next to the most crowded pier in California, we surfers tapped into the ocean, just like we do every day. Only this time, we sent some good vibrations all the way to a Chicago suburb for a kid who's never surfed, who doesn't know us, but who's now an honorary HB waverider.

Wylie, when you get better...the chrome chopper bike and tattoo are on me.

The Colonel says, "Hang in there, bro."