To the anonymouses (anonymai?) who commented on my last post... yes, I always give waves up to people who have priority - no matter new or experienced. (In fact, one of the surfers this weekend commented how I was pretty good at giving up waves in crowded situations... and I've found that I get a good number of priority take-offs in return.) That's not my point. My point in the last post was actually about me overcoming my non-conflict nature and giving suggestions to people who can actually take off on waves, but don't understand how beautiful a skill controlling your board can be.
I cannot wax any more superlative on the subject of a kick-out. It's such a gorgeous way to finish a wave. There are a couple really great surfers at my home break who can surf shortboards and longboards, but it's when they kick-out on a board longer than 9 feet that I have palpitations. In the chaos of a beach break wave that's closing out, they always finesse that board up and over the wave in a perfectly timed and effortless kick-out. About half the time, I can kick-out frontside, most of these are little baby kick-outs and nothing like the powerful arcs of these other surfers. Once in a while, I'll actually kick-out like they do and that's when I feel like a giant. On the backside kick-out, I'm still useless. I rely too much on kneeling, grabbing the rail, and pulling into the wave, sometimes in a cover-up, but mostly to punch out the other side.
But at least I'm not letting my board go.
I know I'm not at any kind of advanced level of surfing, but I do know I'm at a transition point right now. I'm not sure surfing is a kind of sport that you actually "master" because there always seems to be something else you can work on. Right now, I'm obviously working on the physical skill of kicking out (a failed attempt on Sunday resulted in a floater I was really proud of!). But more than that, surfing has always had that mental and emotional metaphor for me. And after being rather fearless and reckless (with regards to my own body, never with regards to others around me) and reaching some level of confidence with myself, I'm looking for a new metaphor. And I think it's going to have to be with how I interact with others.
In life and in surfing, I've always considered the feelings of others before my own. I've always recognized a need to be more assertive (in surfing and in life), but my non-conflict nature makes me walk (or paddle) away instead of confronting an issue. I'm not saying I'm going to go out there and pick fights and be an asshole. That's not me. Anybody who surfs near me can tell you that I'm always whooping for other people's waves. What I'm saying is that I would like to be better able to have a dialogue when something irks me instead of letting it simmer and twist up inside of me.
After reflecting on my inner dialogue on Saturday's incident, I actually talked to the girl on Sunday. She brought it up, actually, and apologized again for running into me. I took the opportunity to ask her if I could give her a couple suggestions that were given to me a few years ago. My insides got less twisted up and I hope the shared knowledge will improve her surfing.
And I'd REALLY like for this practice of being more assertive in dialogue to transition to my "real" life, too.