If you have been following this scrawl from it's inception you would be able to deduce that I started this when I decided to really dedicated myself back to the ocean. There was a distance which had developed in both body and spirit and being a writer and knowing where my motivation comes from, I created this avenue so I could create a world where when the night came, and I couldn't surf, I could continue my growth with the ocean. Other, relatively obvious, reasons were: so that I could have a somewhat tangible account of my growth and when I faced myself, my doubts, and my temptation I could look back and see the progress I'd made and furthermore I wanted a way for my friends to be privy to what I do on a daily basis. For a while, before I created The Swell, my friends and I had been corresponding via group e-mails. One person would send out a question or update on surfing and it's lifestyle and all in the group would reply. And the responses were never uniformed to one opinion or perspective. Our group ranges in age from mid 20's to late 30's and we are peppered from Boston to New York, California to Hawaii and Central/South America (where ever Dan can find a computer not covered in monkey poop). I wanted to create a single place for all of us to interact but that's not what ended up happening. This never turned into an open forum and I couldn't be more grateful. We still converse via group e-mails and this has taken off into my own endeavor.
Would I have bet that within a month I'd have readers in Sri Lanka, Soul and Nepal? No way. Those first days writing about how hard it was not to grab a bottle so I would have the motivation to surf were done for no one but myself. This wasn't about anything global it was about me finding the strength to do what I loved; both surfing and writing. And as people have found inspiration in what I have created I also find inspiration from the continuation of my writings.
What is not known outright, is that I foremost had planned on using this as a scrapbook down the line when I was sidelined with a operation that would keep me out of the water. The operation was met with resistance from a greedy insurance company and has had to be postponed. So The Swell will continue on. Secondly, I wanted to capture the rest of my time here in Southern California for I knew that the duration of time I had left here was minimal. I surmised that when I returned back east that this would fetter off and be a memory, once again, a scrapbook. Though something has happened in the past two months, something which was unexpected.
As you sever one aspect of your life, other aspects which were not so vibrant or apparent seem to appear more pronounced. And as the cliche goes: when one door closes another door opens. What amazes me is that no matter how cognizant you are of yourself and of your surroundings, things change every so slightly until one day you realize that whatever aspect of your life you cut out is very much gone and so much has now had time to grow having not been encumbered by the shadow of something less important. Cut what you will; ideas, notions, grudges, relationships, jobs, material goods, TV, drugs, friends, dreams, or whatever for things that were in the shadow will grow for they have been rooting themselves in anticipation for this moment, for their chance.
In my personal statement to Brown Graduate School, which I composed and submitted last fall/winter, I expressed that I had never harbored any desire to enter the more traditional side of writing which in my perspective was journalism or editing or the "great American novel." I still feel that way on the novel aspect and I could never take the journalistic approach of an unbiased voice but when I described my person then, I had yet to trim my life. As of late I have been editing environmental papers Taylor sends my way from his interaction with the governing land boards of Hawaii. Such detailed reading of this forward thinking environmental planning has stimulated much in my mind and in unison with trying to scribe my own aquatic life I have seen where I may have been wrong in my previous desires. Taylor's papers helped open my eyes and with my heightened focus on the ocean I have begun to see where I can use my talents for something more, something beneficial to more than myself.
This is no reason but more of a result. A result of the previous reasons. I have taken a position in Rhode Island working for my Father who is Beach Coordinator for the town. I think on the surfing legend, Buffalo Keaulana, and his preservation of Makaha. He forged his space in surfing history, like so many of that time, out nothing more than respect and a humble duty for preserving the ocean which gave so much to him. And as a true waterman he raised his children with the same respect he harbored in his daily actions. I have never met this man, or anyone from his heritage or lineage, and to compare my life to theirs is to compare giants and ants. Though it may just be degrees which separate us for I was raised with a fishing pole in my hand and I can not recall a time in my life where the ocean did not bring my family food or fortune, be it with Sol or solace. I will never never ride a 20 foot wave and my father can count, on one hand, the times he has paddled out on a surfboard but he taught me how to body surf and he also taught me what it is to preserve something for someone else.
So there is the reason this forum will continue to be used upon my return to the East Coast. To update on the surf, the beach, the politics of men without our respect and the teaching of the next generation. And I write this last sentence with a wink and a grin, believing some material may surface from the four generations of my family feeding off the waters that surround Sachuest.
Canoeing and hiking in Maine with the BSA
7 years ago