(kinda) SURFING INTO 2018 😜
On the last morning of my trip to Honolulu Hawaii, I was determined to surf. The fam trip was jam packed with group activities hence solo surfing was not held priority. The evening before, I scoped out the rental costs, boogie boarded out beyond the borders of safety, just to get a sense of it all. I went to bed early that night, nervous to wake early for something I’ve feared since learning to swim properly earlier this year. My dad knew I’d been wanting to go the whole trip so he woke me up and told me he’d escort me for the hour I had to squeeze in before flying home. While still half asleep, I brushed him off and defeatedly said I’d go for a run instead...
For many of us self-betterment geeks, we’ve heard of the saying “Fail hard. Fail fast. Fail often.” Well, as easy as that sounds, before even experiencing the almighty sensation of failure, you first have to overcome the decision to TRY. So in bed, after opting out to my dad, I reminded myself of one of my favorite class quotes of 2017,
So I pulled myself out of bed, splashed cold water on my face, got ready in a flash, and being my father’s son, my dad knew. He sensed that I flipped the switch, that I turned on the Ironman determination I had been on vacation from.
Earlier on the trip, I snorkeled like a fish, I open-ocean-water swam like an Ironman, I hiked like a Sherpa, I skydived like an adrenaline junkie, I SUP’d like a stoic, and I monk-moded a fam jam packed vacation with minimal complaints and criticisms (Dale Carnegie would have been proud). I succeeded in rounding out 2017 like the guy I’ve always dreamt of becoming.
Well, my physical prowess of 2018 couldn’t have started off any worse. As it stands, to surf successfully seems much further away than swimming my first Ironman or hiking my first mountain range. I went 1 for 30 attempts (to be honest, that 1 time up was barely considerable). As fit and coordinated as I am, I struggled to the max.
I swallowed enough salt water for the year of Epsom salt baths, wiped out epically enough to top highlight reels, and had my ego Aloha-handed to me on a lei’d lined silver platter.
As sh*tty as the act of swallowing your pride is, it’s much nicer than being force-fed your pride... the ocean knows no difference; nature doesn’t give two sh*ts about your pride. The challenge to continue on while being hammered wave after wave was a fight with no compromise. You are tested while on your hands and knees. There’s no time to negotiate mercy. It’s go time or wipe out time. It was a battle of bravery and belittlement.
Seeing fellow surfers of all ages and sizes swoop and swerve so gracefully was the worst for me. “If that kid can do it, so should I!” “How can they do it so easily?!?!” “I must be doing something wrong.” My mind went through hundreds of failure justifications: board was too small, board wasn’t waxed enough, waves were too big, not enough time, not enough technique, etc. I left with nothing intact except for my board leash on my leg.
Optimistic failure. Grateful failure. Successful failure. Whatever I want to label it, bottomline, I failed. But one major takeaway was that moment in bed, that TSN turning point, that split second switch up from thinking about it to acting on it... from "f*ck that" to "f*ck it" ... from “no way in hell” to “hell yeah!” It’s not the pinnacle moments of success that 2018 will be known for, nor is it the surfing moments of failure, it’s celebrating the turning points and the pivots.
Whether it’s successfully skydiving out of 2017, or surf failing into 2018, I am grateful for the colourful experiences to reflect upon and share with you. Thank you for reading.