Guest writer Dan Colburn is drying out. His wife’s cat hates it.
Sometimes it’s actually nice when the ocean goes flat. It gives us all a little time to do other things such as work, earn money, spend time with our families … you know, that inane, meaningless stuff. But after a week or so it really grinds on me; I mean, I start feeling irritable and grouchy. My wife calls it “drying out.”
The fact of the matter is that most surfers (myself included, if not leading the charge) need the ocean. We thrive on what it gives us: serenity, adrenaline, artistic expression, etc. All these things help to shape who we are and greatly influence the way we act around others when out of the water. Non-surfers don’t understand this but that’s okay … we wouldn’t expect them to.
I once read a quote by Laird Hamilton on the subject of flat spells. “It’s like being a dragon slayer but all the dragons went on vacation.” Or something to that effect. I can relate well to what Laird is talking about, except that I can’t even stop my wife and daughter’s cats from snatching a peanut from my trail mix, let alone harpoon a mythic winged lizard. But I digress.
When you live your life for this one thing and then it gets taken away, you feel empty inside, as if everything you do has no meaning. Spiritually vacant. As if, regardless of how familiar you are with a destination, you can never reach it. Who hasn’t suffered the dread of waking up hoping for the best, excitedly making the walk/drive/bike down to check the waves, even though you know conditions haven’t changed and it’s as flat as an alpine lake. But nonetheless, there you stand, staring at ankle-high mush, praying to whomever for even a ripple of rideability. Crushed, you head home. Still dry.
Flat spells suck.