Not Such Great Expectations

Not Such Great Expectations

It might be sacrilege to suggest to some- particularly those perpetually stoked and sunny types- but I don’t always come in from a surf feeling better than when I paddled out. I’m reticent to admit it- nobody likes a Debbie Downer- but occasionally I come in feeling downright pissed.

Don’t get me wrong- bobbing around in the blue riding waves is a divine privilege- to be cherished! It’s just that…sometimes that lump in between my ears has an idea of how things should be and spits the dummy when reality doesn’t oblige.

Expectations can be pesky things. When they start to gather momentum and soar skyward is there ever a happy ending, or landing rather, in sight? Expecting circumstances to unfold our way can leave us feeling irked when they unfold of their own accord.

Take a recent family trip North for example. We pulled up at a scenic and not-so- secret point as two-foot lines shimmied towards us. I’ve heard stories of really, really big sharks at this place but this day so fine you could hear Bob Marley crooning the sun is shining, the weather is sweet, and I was convinced that if any burly men in grey suits approached Mr. Marley himself would descend from heaven to rescue me.

I was champing at the bit to get out there and my enthusiasm remained intact despite having my first wave poached. Plenty more to come I thought. However, my second wave brought with it another drop in and this pattern stuck for the duration of my surf. Another wave: Another drop in.

I pulled the pin in disgust after one bloke held my eye contact before spinning quickly to take off and end my ride to begin his. My husband bore the brunt of my frustration as I moaned about the bunch of greedy pigs with no etiquette.

It shouldn’t be like that!

But it was.

A day earlier we’d met a bunch of people surfing crumbly one foot and onshore conditions at the Pass with nothing but an eagerness to get wet with the kids and share waves together. See what would unfold. It was ridiculously fun. Funny that. No assumptions. No disgruntlement.

Somewhere along the track I came to mistakenly believe that raising my expectations would somehow equate to a stellar surfing experience. Remember that movie The Secret about the law of attraction? Think positive to create the positive in your life. Well why didn’t those bastards in the line ever part for me like the Red Sea did for Moses and my pearler of a wave ever bloody show up?

Yet if I’m armed with a sense of curiosity heading into the ocean- open to adventure and receptive to my surroundings- I’m never disappointed.

I surfed my local recently. It was good and that means a walling left and a shrunken take off zone. The usual alpha pack was on it and I rated my probability of nabbing a wave as extremely low but decided to surf. I stood to learn more than standing on the shore.

A strapping young lad careered past on a wave but came unstuck when a human speed hump slid down the face in front of him. He screamed as he surfaced “I HATE THIS PLACE!”

This made me smile. He clearly had his own version of how things should have been. It also reminded me of a time when I believed that if I was a shred demon shooting spray in the eyes of those I slalomed past I’d be the happiest surfer in the line-up. This has turned out to be a real furphy- evidenced by the number of times I’ve seen said shredder demonstrating himself to be the most miserable, discontented member of the line up. Nope. Ability doesn’t buy fulfillment.

I turned around and asked a bloke how his last wave was.

“Got dropped in on” he replied.

“Ah bummer…that’s surfing huh?” I said.

“Yeah…but it shouldn’t be!” he shook his head.

And there it was. The folly of bickering with reality was so clear when observed in another. And it was kind of ugly. I got pitched on the take off of my one and only wave and strangely old Debbie didn’t rear her head that day. At least not in me.

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