Thursday, 20 January 2011

Brief Encounters: surf crowd

The people at my surf camp on Costa Rica´s Pacific Coast are a mix of mahogany-skinned experts, regulars slowly remembering the moves, and learners falling off their boards a lot (guess where I am). They say things I could never pull off, like "let´s hope it cleans up later" and "it´s like a washing machine out there today".

There´s Billy from California, who´s been partying too much: "I haven´t seen him carrying a surfboard much lately," someone said, concernedly. There´s Bob, who rigged up a contraption back home in land-locked Idaho to help him get his paddling arms into shape. It involved bottles of water and a pully. And there´s Jennifer, my roommate, a smart New Yorker studying for a PhD who surfs at home - in Queens.

But best of all, there´s Dusty. A silver-haired grandfather in his 60s, he surfed for 20 years in southern California in the 1950s and 60s on longboards, when you learned by clambering first to your knees, then your feet. He chuckles at the memory.

Married for 33 years and living hundreds of miles from the sea, he takes a surf trip three or four times a year, usually to Baja. What´s the attraction? "It clears you head. I´ve got a lot of demons in here," he smiles. His four grandchildren are impressed. "They think it´s pretty cool their Grandpa surfs."

He didn´t surf this morning. He walked to the sea with his board, and came back shaking his head. "Terrible. Messy as anything. It´ll clean up later."

No comments:

Post a Comment