the surf stoke

Honoli’i Beach in Hilo, HI

Surfing is such a mental, physical & spiritual {t r i p} – full of contradictions. 

On one hand, floating on your board in the middle of the ocean is so serene & meditative.

Present-mindedness is requisite. 

On the other, moments after catching a wave – and feeling the stoke from at once almost defying gravity in such a harmonious way with the universe – another wave might come crashing in, completely rocking & humbling you. 

No moment amongst the waves is the same as the last.

Never before in my life had I given any thought to surfing; but after hanging with a very sweet human for a few months & listening to his surf stories, totally awestricken, my sense of adventure quickly trounced fears regarding my mediocre swimming skills, sharks, heartbreaking smizes, etc. All of a sudden, probably on a Tuesday, I’d found myself deep-Googling the best nearby destinations to learn how to surf.

It was the last weekend of May 2019 when I first got up on a surfboard in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico. 

Surfing Goofy in Sayulita

I remember catching my first wave (probably with a little push-assist from our instructor, Brenda): goofy-footed, high-probability of also goofy-smiling. 

It was the first time I felt the stoke

And almost immediately, I knew in my heart of hearts that pursuing the stoke would become a significant part of my life from then on.

Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Since then, in the last ~5 months, between Sayulita, Bolinas, Pacifica, Hilo, Canggu and San Diego, I’ve probably clocked 40 or 50 hours, switched from goofy to regular, joined a surf club, watched Momentum Generation 2.5 times, got my first board!

My next few weeks are pretty packed with work, life & trying to survive, and I’m not sure when I’ll yet again be out on my board. But today, sleep-deprived, exhausted & ever-so-slightly heartachey, I’ve found comfort and much deep gratitude that the stoke has manifested in my life in such a strong & meaningful way. As per the Emperor from Disney’s Mulan:

“You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.”

‘comma playboi’ I’d add.

As I reflect on how my stoke has deepened via so much universal synchronicity – from running into my Pacifica surf instructor at a basketball court in SF who shared with me the magic that is Bolinas to coincidentally meeting the best local surf guru in Hilo – I realize that my life has evermore been full of so many blessings, and I hope to live every day in this life exhibiting more loving kindness to be deserving of them.

All My Love & Light,

A Grateful & Wonderstruck Huck

Some fishermen on the beach in Sayulita noticed us and told a photographer named Fernando that he ought to capture some photos of us; this was one of my favourites 🙂 I’d be so lucky to feel and share with others this degree of effortless stoke again in this life!

Extra special thanks to:

  • Matt who first sparked the stoke, helped me through epic battles with my 5.5 hooded chest-zip, tandem carried when my lanky arms have given out, and whose enthusiastic support of my pipe dream of becoming a free surfer has been vital in the growth of my skills and of my heart.
  • Drew, Ginger, Nick & Ian for the kindness they’ve shown in granting me a 2 Mile student visa and the knowledge they’ve patiently & generously shared in spite of my wide-eyed, newbie, over eagerness.
  • The “2nd best surfer in Mexico” who made sure that I ended my last Sayulita sesh on a high note even as my fatigue pushed me to call it.
  • My wonderful community of friends – new & old – who’ve shared suggestions, their own boards, rides to the beach and much more as I find my feet as a wee surfer babe.
  • Baru, one of my instructors in Bali, who taught me about Canang sari (an Indonesian Hindu practice).  I vividly remember when I first asked Baru about the ritual; he emerged from a squat, clove cigarette smoke billowing from his nostrils and in broken English said, “a prayer & thanks for safe and good surf, Tik-ayy.”  The loving purpose behind his ritual inspired me and is something that I’ve adopted in my own practice through moments of reflection before and after my surf sessions regardless of how they went.
  • And to Mark – the one and only – who’ll likely never know the many impacts of his knowledge of obscure artists. So much love for Mark.

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