The Shmell of it, the Tashte of it, the Texshture

While living here in San Diego I realized that I could not live solely by surfing, watching Baywatch and making Hot Pockets in the microwave. As glamorous as that sounds, it just didn’t pay the rent. I found a job with a TV show called Planet X where I go around hanging out with athletes and get inside their head to see what makes them tick. I skateboard with Andy MacDonald and Eric Kosten, surf with Joel Tudor and dine with Junior Seau and Drew Brees. Trust me when I say: It does not suck. I found myself sitting atop the famous halfpipe at the Mission YMCA with Andy MacDonald going over a ridiculous list of questions my producer asked me to ask. I followed up the `button-fly or zippers’ question with, “Why do you like skateboarding?” He gave an answer that was clearly something that he truly meant and felt strongly about. He told me that the feeling of skateboarding was one thing that really made it special to him. The rolling wheels on the asphalt, being launched into the air, grinding trucks on the metal coping; the feel of skateboarding. A week later I was sitting in the lineup at the legendary surf spot called Windandsea letting the sun beat hard on my face while watching the horizon waiting for the peak set to roll through. Minutes later an overhead set graced the reef and everyone started paddling in all directions. Incredibly, I was in the right place to catch the first wave so I put my head down and paddled in. The wave began to carry me and I looked around to make sure I wasn’t cutting off any local who would surely threaten my life if I did. I had the wave so I took a breath and dropped in. Instantly I was at the bottom of the wave as I looked up to something about the height of the ceiling of the room I am in right now. Nothing in my mind worked at that moment. My bottom turn that brought me to the middle of the wave was instinctual. The only thing that I was truly paying attention to as I was at the mercy of the immense force of water was the sound of the wave. I could hear the wind blowing the top of the wave and my fins slicing through the ocean. I stuck my hand out to slow me down and the sound of my fingers running through the wave was pure. I looked in front of me to see a crowd of people trying to get out of my way. I put all my weight on my heels and wove in and out of hoots, hollers and small words that were not meant to be heard. I could hear the wave crashing inches from my ear as I pulled back into it so I pumped my legs to speed up. My board glided across the wave while the decibel meter reached that similar to a tranquility fountain. As the wave approached the beach I could hear the kids playing in the sand so I knew that was my cue to exit the wave and paddle out again. As I regained my senses I realized that in a similar way that Andy is passionate about the feel of skateboarding I am passionate about the sound of surfing. It is the one thing that truly sparks my senses where I hear everything involved with riding the wave. This resounded in me, and every wave after that I could do nothing but just listen to the water under my board, my fins cutting turns and my hands digging into the wave. This is something that everyone should be able to experience. A chef might create amazing concoctions for the taste of a wonderful dish. A tennis player might enjoy the smell of fresh air, clay court and a new can of tennis balls. An artist will paint a beautiful landscape and then recreate it on their canvas in front of them to capture it forever. If you are able to go out this summer and find something that makes you aware of one of your senses; the sound of a basketball dribbling or the touch of shooting billiard balls. Whatever it takes, find it because you won’t see, hear, feel, touch or taste that thing in the same way ever again.