So, something odd happened over the winter of 2015.
I hadn’t been in the ocean for a while. If truth be known, pretty much the whole of winter. I could say that I was busy, just had too much happening in my world. But the fact of the matter is – winter here is cold. Ice-cream headache cold. And while I don’t abstain from ice-cream through our southern winters, I give our winter southern oceans and very big miss.
For me, there was always more to surfing than the wave. My favourite part of surfing culture is the carpark. Surf ability and board length holds no bearing. In the carpark it’s all about getting out of your wetsuit. And there’s really no modest way of doing it. If you’re a free-balling lad – and most lads are – we’ll probably see your old fella. If we’re lucky a wayward ball bag. While if you’re a lass, a boob will inevitably fall out. In my day carpark post-wave antics always involved unzipping each others back and the towel-smacking of bare skin. Followed by tripping, pushing and the pulling of each others’ pants down. While laughing at white bare arses.
Yep, nudity was as much a part of surfing as wax.
Now that the water is a balmy 15* and we turn the corner towards summer, I’ve ventured into the ocean’s calling once again. Last week, the winds were light, the waves were small. So, when the tide fell fully away and took the small swell with it, 4 lads and I left the water together and climbed the steps to signies carpark.
At our respective cars, 4 lads and I proceeded to get out of our wetsuits. It was here in this moment that I realised – over the winter where I stayed away – the goal posts had changed.
3 lads pulled plastic tubs from their boots and covered themselves with hooded, head to knee towels. Like a post-wave chardour, it covered all their fun bits. In terry-towelling modesty they washed their feet in their tubs. Thus keeping toes sand-free and ready for thongs with moulded arch support. As they wiggled their covered bodies out of their wetties, there was not a ball bag in sight. Not an old fella to be seen.
In fact, there was no surf nudity at all.
While I tucked my left boob back into my top, I wondered:
When did the rules change? And who bought all the metrosexuals?
Think abdominal twists, supported inversions and arm balance.
The buddha says, the only thing that is constant is change. Be that as personal as our changing bodies or as vast as our changing coastline. When the goal posts move, all that we are asked to do is accept the ebb and flow that comes with that movement. Knowing that sometimes it will happen fast, right before our very eyes. While other times it will happen slow, when our eyes were busy and turned the other way. That nothing pulls us faster into the present moment than the surprise that comes with noticing things are different. And even though you may have liked them, the times may never again be the same.
I had another surf again this morning. A weekend northerly filled the carparks before 9:00. After an hour of feeding my soul with the power of the southern ocean, I walked up to my car. I smiled at 2 lads standing under their towels and in their tubs. And then got in my own car – in my full wetsuit – and drove home. Where in my own backyard I wriggled out of rubber and completely nuded up.
While my small ones flicked my bare arse with my towel.