paddles out into the surf, testing the center of
on his Strive, finding the sweet spot between lying
too far back thus raising the nose too high ... and lying too far
forward thus digging the nose into the water (known as
pearling), both of which render the likelihood of catching
waves remote. It doesn't take long for him to figure it out, again
belying his total lack of experience.
I want to call out to him things like "Go further out!", "Paddle
more to your left - there's a sandbar causing a wave to peak!",
"There's a set coming. Let the first one go. The ones at the back
are bigger!" ... but I don't. As hard as it is, I bite my tongue
and stay quiet. This is
experience - not mine - and I want him to have it for himself. The
time has come for me to get out of his way.
He chooses his wave, a nice unbroken swell, turns towards the beach
and starts paddling. The wave gently picks him up; he rises onto
his knees ... and then he's standing up!
is standing up on his first attempt riding his first wave on his
first surfboard, and I'm cheering him on, all the way to the beach.
The gremmies at Surfers' Corner are cheering him on,
all the way to the beach. The sophisticats at Kom
Inner are cheering him on, all the way to the beach. The
are cheering him on, all the way to the beach. The
has run its
course. The torch is passed.
You can't really describe what it's like to surf, any more than you
can describe what a grape tastes like or what transformation is
like. They have to be experienced to be fully appreciated. And as
for describing what it's like watching your son surf for the
first time, that's even harder. It's awesome. It's sublime. You
have to experience it for yourself to appreciate the fullness of
it, to revel in the satisfaction of it, to celebrate the
triumph of it, to realize the passing the
torch of it.