I love the ocean! The sights, sounds and even smells evoke excitement anytime I visit. I doubt I would ever tire of it. I was raised with the Pacific just across my front yard with 8,000 foot mountains three miles behind me. After time, the mountains evaporated into the landscape but the ocean never ceased. Unfortunately, I now live a bit further from the deep blue than I prefer. In spite of my geographic challenges, I have a great deal to appreciate on the water in my area as more and more land-locked surfski paddlers are finding out.
Although most interior paddlers will engage in the occasional motorboat wake chasing and weather consulting in search of some manner of “surfing”, the fact is that unless you live near the Great Lakes, we just don’t get what our coastal brethren have in spades---waves.
So what keeps me coming back day after day to flat boring water? Flat boring water does. My morning paddles have become a moving meditation. It’s not that I can solve complex algorithms or even organize my (lack of) finances while I’m out there, but therein lies the point; I don’t deal with typical daily hardships. The smooth glide across the water becomes the purest release I can find. Maybe it’s a metaphor for how I hope the rest of my day will play out. I find the purest form of mindfulness that I have experienced; liquid Prozac.
As I focus purely on the endless quest for an efficient stroke, the placid morning water allows for some real disconnection. Gliding along as though on a magic carpet ride, I often find my surroundings tend to fold into the total experience; as though a multitude of stimuli are happening simultaneously without process.
At the end of it all, I’ve found that this has become my favored experience on the ski. I wouldn’t say that this won’t change someday; it probably will, but for the present time I definitely have an appreciation for it.