Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Obsessions

It all started with an interest in paddle boarding. A friend of mine had introduced me to the activity while we were relaxing on his boat, SS Trouble, near the beach. We paddled ourselves on old windsurf boards that had been stripped of hardware around the beach. The best part about it was that we were the only people doing it. Over my years of living next to a lake and visiting the ocean to experience surfing, I’ve developed a love for the water. I looked everywhere for an old board that I could use for paddling, hoping someone would be trying to give theirs away. I hoped I wouldn't have to pay much sinse funds are always tight while in school.

It was almost two years of looking for a used board when I stumbled across one that looked perfect. It was during work when I found it and I noticed it against some ones garage. He was in working on something, so I decided that it was worth asking him about, thinking that maybe it hasn’t been used in a while. My hunch was right because the guy didn’t hesitate to hand it over, not asking for any money. I offered to get him some cash, but he just insisted that I take it.

I hoped for just the board, but I ended up with the full windsurf setup. I had no intentions of ever trying the sport, but now that I had one, I couldn’t wait to get out.

A couple days after, a couple friends came down with me to Petro Beach to give the thing a try. None of us had ever windsurfed and we had no idea how the setup was supposed to work. We rigged it up fast without thinking about it, or realising that parts had been missing.

We all failed miserably as the sail took off with the gusts of wind, throwing us violently off of our boards. The boom was loose, the sail wasn’t tied tight enough, and it was a hopeless set up, but we all just assumed that we weren’t doing it properly.

Although the first time was so terrible, I had developed a new fascination for the sport. I researched windsurfing with YouTube, and realised that what I was riding was not set up properly. After a few times out, some trips to the hardware store, and thick skin, I managed to create a ride-able rig, with the setup that I had been given.

After taking a few rides with my friend Joash, he decided that he had to have a setup of his own. With some internet searches, he found a setup that he didn’t hesitate to purchase. With two setups now running, the sport became even more fun. Every windy day, the day of work was spent thinking about windsurfing. We were both equally excited every time the conditions are decent, but no matter how much we try getting other friends to come out, we get shut down by their lack of interest.

Our attempts to bring back a dead sport may have failed, but it gave me a thrill that no other sport has given me. The wind pushes in gusts as the sail carves into the wind, like a kite, pulling my board across the surface of the water. The harder I can pull against the wind, the more speed that I can achieve. There’s nothing that can compare to it.

Getting into this activity has made me adore terrible weather. Whenever it’s hot without a breeze I am disappointed. Everyone is always so annoyed when I feel overjoyed by the sight of roaring wind and ride-able storms, but the obsession has overtaken me. It’s an old sport that has died in our town years ago, but Joash and I are living a vintage life, feeling the thrills of the past, getting a thrill from nature that most people never get to experience. Best of all; when it’s over, the scenery of the sunset creates an mind blowing image of beauty to end the evening.

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