Thoughts in troubled times...
It’s early May 2021 in Portugal. I am sitting on the balcony of my apartment. The sun shines pleasantly on my body. A smell of grilled octopus is in the air. In the distance I hear the sound of the sea. My apartment is very close to the sea. A new swell has arrived. Perhaps for the last time before the summer season with smaller waves, the ocean rears up and gives us 3.5 meter waves. Unfortunately, the wind comes from a bad direction, so the epic surf session fails to materialize. I deal with ordinary things of the weekend. Today is Mother’s Day! An obligatory call to the old home country is not left out. I tell my mother that I love her.
A phrase that has become much more important in this time. Covid-19 is ubiquitous. The world is going crazy. It’s a scenario that I’ve only seen in movies. Vaccinations hopefully promise a slow fix soon and give hope for a normal life later this year.
Surfing almost faded into the background a bit. You couldn’t escape the subject no matter where you were on Earth. Even governments banned sporting activities on the beaches in Europe and partly all over the world, hitting all surfers right in the heart. Fortunately, these rules did not last forever, and so we were soon able to adapt our lives to the rhythm of the tides as usual.
Exactly in this time something happened, which I missed more and more often in the last years. The love of surfing! Surfing has been a part of my life for almost two decades now. It’s part of my everyday life, like showering or brushing my teeth. But I also got used to it and didn’t feel it was special anymore. Sure I loved the ocean and the waves, but it also felt a little worn.
In March 2020, I was sitting on Sumbawa, one of many Indonesian islands with epic waves. Gregor and I had just arrived in Indonesia a few days ago. We had not even adapted to the life and climate of this tropical paradise when we were forced to return immediately due to Covid19. It all happened so fast and seemed surreal, yet it still turned out to be an all-changing surf session for me that I will never forget in my life and will probably point me in the right direction for many years to come.
I was sitting on a seemingly endless left pointbreak in the water. I was all alone. I was deeply shaken by the events and wanted to say goodbye to the waves and the island. It felt like someone was trying to steal my life. The waves were perfect. Nevertheless, I had to fly home again the next day after only a few days. An uncertain future with a lockdown in Germany awaited me. I was close to tears. When I was totally in my thoughts and trying to surf the waves with dignity, something magical happened. Suddenly, a water turtle appeared right near me and briefly looked over at me to catch its breath before diving back down. It seemed like she was trying to comfort me. I surfed some waves and suddenly she came back, as if she wanted to check if I was doing well again in the meantime. Then I understood their signs.
I looked around and the images of the landscape and the colors of the afternoon sun on the mirror-smooth surface of the water imprinted themselves forever in my memory and took my breath away. A feeling of infinite gratitude arose deep within me for this unique moment of bliss.
There it was again, that one feeling that only surfing can give you. This immensely satisfying loss of control of space and time. That “flow moment” that can instantly make all problems go away. Since that one session on Sumbawa in Indonesia, I fell in love with surfing all over again. I feel like I’m back when surfing wasn’t my job. Surfing has always helped me through the most difficult moments of my life. It is my medicine, my elixir of life.
Since then I manage to get involved in surfing again. Every good wave, every clean turn, every beautiful moment in the ocean frees me from things that seem all so powerful in this time of pandemic and require a lot of willpower and perseverance from all of us. At least the ocean remains the same and provides a pleasing constant. He doesn’t care about case numbers and statistics.
The waves are driven by the energy of the storms, many thousands of kilometers away from us. When this energy becomes visible in the form of a wave, we become a part of this energy. How do we absorb you, try to master you. Then we give you back to the ocean. The energy has seemingly discharged and is gone forever, at least that’s how it looks to us.
But in truth, it is still there and continues to influence us in our actions. Because our life is an eternal cycle of happiness and unhappiness, joy and sadness, hope and despair. Just like the rhythm of the ocean with its storms or lulls or ebb and flow, we live with ups and downs and learn to deal with them.
So let’s enjoy the highs in life all the more to have enough strength for the lows.
SEA you soon,