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Let It Go - Bodysurfing with My Boy

The shore break down the south end of the beach is small but heavy.
Shore break waves come up out of deep water and hit a sandbar and throw barrels which explode into shallow water and occasionally right onto the sand.

We love riding shore break, my son Santi and I. He's 10 years old now.

His bodysurfing has been progressing steadily over the last few years, which makes me happy.

But what makes me even more happy is how much fun he has doing it. At least as much as I have!

The idea with riding shore break is to jump forward with the wave at the last second, lean down as the water sucks up (so you don't get pitched with the lip) and get the mesmerizing vision of the barrel for a moment - literally a second or two - before it eats you.

Surfing has been tweaking my neck recently — basically too much time sitting at the laptop with not enough time doing yoga — so I've been opting for bodysurfing which is usually fine for my neck. Ironically, it's a serious neck injury that is the one-in-a-billion risk when bodysurfing waves like this.

Like I said the water is shallow and you have to be prepared to hit the sand while get tumbled with no control - trying to be aware of where the bottom is so you don't do a header into it. It's scary at first and takes some practice to get used to it and be able to enjoy it, even for experienced ocean goers.

The shore break down the south end needs a high tide to work, and because it's in between new and full moon the high tides haven't been high enough.

But for the first time in a week this morning's 7:46 a.m. high tide was.

I woke up at 5:20 a.m. and did my writing. (The sunrise!!!! It blinded me as I tapped away on my iPad.)

I figured I'd let Santi sleep in as long as possible before trying to wake him. He generally takes a while to wake up and doesn't like getting into the ocean first thing. But if I wait too long we risk the tide dropping too much and we miss our magical window.

At about 7:45 I walk out on the balcony (we're staying in a beach house) and look to the south and see whitewash exploding in the distance. Clean conditions. Totally sunny. Clear blue water.
It's time.
I put my boardies on and go downstairs where he's asleep in bed with his Mom and his two little brothers (he sleeps along the foot of the bed, it's hilarious, I don't know how they do it.)

I rub his back and say, "Santi" a couple times. His eyes open for one second. Then he's gone again. He's deeply asleep and even if I wake him chances are he won't want to go to the beach and he'll be pissed off that I woke him up and then REALLY not want to go down to the beach.

So I walk out of the house by myself and run down the sand dune and keep running for a few minutes down to the south end. I see fun waves along the way but decide to go almost all the way to the rocks.

I jump in and right off the bat I'm catching bombing little barrels, from 1-5 feet high, and usually more wide than high.

During the next 15 minutes, in between catching waves, I think:
"Damn, Santi would LOVE this."

"This water is so warm and crystal clear, amazing!"

"I wish my GoPro was working! These waves are beautiful and the glowing green grass-covered headland in the background would look incredible."

(My new GoPro got water inside of it after about 20 uses. Still awaiting a response from customer service. The shot above is from 2 weeks ago.)

"It's really consistent, I want to see how many waves I can catch. Ya, I'll count my waves, I've never done that. I'll aim for 80 barrels."

"Oh man, should I run back up to the house and wake Santi up? This is probably going to be the only time for good waves today (the tide and wind won't be right for the rest of the day)."

"No, by the time I run up and he actually wakes up and gets ready it will probably be too late. And then I'll miss out on these waves!"

"He shouldn't have stayed up so late last night watching a movie. I knew the waves would probably good this morning. I'm a bad parent."

And then I hear a wiser voice.
"Let it go, Rick. If he was supposed to be out here, he'd be out here. Maybe he would have gotten hurt this morning if he'd joined you. Maybe that's why he's not here. Enjoy these magical warm clear waves. Enjoy the solo time. Trust that it's perfect, just like this. Because it IS."

So I stay out there alone and ride barrel after barrel while dozens of people and dogs take their morning strolls along the beach.

After about 30 minutes and 47 barrels I feel hungry and decide I've gotten plenty, I'm ready to head in. I walk in to the dry sand and begin jogging home.

In the distance I see a kid in boardies walking along the beach towards me.
At first he looks too skinny to be Santi, but as I get closer I see... it's him! YES!

"It's so good, Santi!"

"Hey Dad! Ya it looks good!"

"I caught 47 barrels!"

"Really!? Were you at the south end?"

"Ya almost all the way. Let's go!"

We run to the end of the beach and jump into the water together.

We catch wave after wave.

He decides to count his barrels too.

My highlights are when we catch the same wave and ride towards each other in the barrel. So fun to see his excited face for a moment before we get destroyed, then pop up next to each other.

We're laughing and hooting for each other. This is the best playground in the world.

What a dream-come-true for me...
To watch Santi throw himself into barrel after barrel and get beating after beating.

And come up smiling.

I get so much joy from bodysurfing waves like this. I don't know why exactly. Even more than surfing most of the time.

But it gives me the most joy to see HIM enjoying it.

I surpass my goal of 80 barrels and get to 100.

He aims for 50 and ends up with 63.

While walking home along the sand he holds my hand.
I LOVE this.

What a great age. He's man enough to throw himself into dangerous barrels (from which he does occasionally even come up crying after getting slammed into the sand.)

But boy enough to usually hold my hand when we're walking together.

On the way he does some math. Dad caught 100-47 = 53. He caught 66 in that time. So that's 13 more than Dad. He's stoked.

He does quick and correct calculations in his head even though he doesn't go to school and does no formal math learning. I'm stoked.

(He's got my headphones on and is learning Japanese on an app on my phone next to me while I write this. He's interested in Japanese anime, food, and snowboarding and has a dream of learning to speak Japanese and living there with his two best friends when he's older. He tried one language app a few weeks ago but it didn't grab him. He downloaded another one 30 minutes ago and is cranking away on it, doing silent fist pumping when he draws a character correctly.)

What a perfect, perfect morning.
I'm grateful for the incredible sunrise while I did my morning reading and writing. I'm so grateful to the ocean for giving us our best bodysurfing session of the trip. I'm in awe of Santi's courage.

But mostly I marvel at the always~perfection of the Universe and how well it all works when I LET IT GO.

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Rick Cowley - Creator of VysionQuest
The VysionQuest is a spiritual adventure to help achievers at a crossroads find purpose, direction and inspiration for their next chapter.
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© 2021 Rick Cowley