Friday, October 15, 2010

Surfing is a Lot Like Knitting

I'd been feeling a little blue and discouraged from not having been in the water for almost three weeks. I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get back in again. My goal in becoming a surfer is to create a habit that I can't break. But this far in, it still takes considerable effort to load up the car early in the morning and head down to the beach by myself. And between last month's heat wave,  rain storms and  sick family, it was a habit easily broken. 

But thanks to the generosity of my good friend A, on Wednesday I ended up taking my second surf lesson in a month.  In fact, knowing that two of my good friends were going to be surfing with me, I was able to arrange childcare wonders that I barely knew were possible.

My instructor was Das Jesson from Islands Surf Camp, a very cool guy - sweet, patient, enthusiastic and with a contagious love for surfing. And Das turned me on to something about surfing that had eluded me until know.

Surfing is a lot like knitting.

When I've taught knitting, one thing I've always told my pupils - echoed eloquently by the great knitting authority Elizabeth Zimmerman - is that there is no right way to knit. Provided you start with needles and yarn and end with...something're knitting. How you get from point A to point B is your own business.

I'd been trying to surf the right way. And failing again and again. In fact, so far, my surf odyssey has been a great education in patience and being bad at something. But Das took a look at what I could do and helped me find my own, distinctly personal, way of getting from point A - lying prone - to point B - standing on my board.

Of course, everything I'd learned so far also came into play: knowing the waves, looking ahead, letting go. I justt took Das to provide the missing ingredient: "Let's face it" he said "you're not getting on the Pro Tour anytime soon. It doesn't matter how you get up there. Just have fun. That's what you're here for."

I'm not gonna be on the Pro Tour! I don't have to do it right! I just have to have fun! I've got needles! I've got yarn! I've got a surf board!

I'm CEO - Bitch!

1 comment:

  1. Hey!
    I just stumbled upon your blog by googling knitting and surfing. Surfing is a lot like knitting!! Both can be totally uplifting and exciting when you master a new skill and also totally upsetting when it just. doesn't. work. out. how. it. should.

    I'm very new to surfing and have had days in the water where I only got up on one wave. SO FRUSTRATING! But, really, with your comparison to knitting, I'm reminded how, after years of knitting, I can look at a mistake I make and immediately know how to fix it because I have stared at stitches long enough to make sense of them. I still have to a lot more time to put in to have that level of understanding about the sea and waves.

    And, oh yeah, you're CEO, bitch!