These moments don’t all have to be picture-perfect sun-drenched barrels. We paddle out into breaks all around the world, emerging with the same beaming smile from a mushy session at Saunton as the guy who just got slotted at an offshore, overhead Pipeline.
Then there’s the time you spend simply watching surf, whether it’s from your car on a clifftop or in a surf flick.
And think about how much you subconsciously observe while surfing. That split second the peak of a wave feathers up, the view from the shoulder as a guy sends some spray up on a deep turn, the view from beneath the surface as you duck dive.
What about the time you saw a whale jumping in the bay as you sat out back, or the dolphins that you so happily let drop in on you… Even spotting a shoal of fish can be pretty magical. What other sports get you this close and comfortable with nature?
It’s not just the animals that join you in the line-up either – it’s the people. What’s is more satisfying than seeing all your friends enjoying the same anticipation and stoke that you feel? The other day I experienced what I consider one of the most perfect moments I surf for.
I had a split session on one of my brother’s last days in Oz. We and our friend Jonesey headed to the Wreck in Byron Bay: not a huge swell, but lovely peeling lines. I swam out with my underwater housings to get some pictures of them both. Over the course of 2 hours I sacrificed catching some waves to shoot, but I emerged as stoked as them – simply watching them both carve lines knowing that I was capturing it for them got them pumped and put a smile on my face.
After regrouping on the beach we hit another spot at Main Beach. This time I had my log under my arm. For 30 minutes we caught wave after wave, dropping in and paddling back out to the whoops from each other.
45 minutes in, our friends Chris, Junior and John paddled out. A pack of friends in a lush sunset, on our own peak towards Clarkes Beach.
We traded sets, pushed each others’ surfing and messed around having some party waves.
We all emerged with beaming grins and spent the evening chilling with an ice cold slab of beers.
These are the moments we surf for.