A Lesson For An Experienced Wave Rider

I like surfing by myself quite a bit.  I’ve been surfing with friends all week, and I needed to get away from following people around on their schedules and do something for myself today.  So I went on my own schedule to Oceanside.  It looked quite fun – fast lefts and clean conditions.  Paddled out and realized it was even faster than I thought, so I knew I’d have to pick my corners carefully (I hate getting closed out).

I got a nice right and made a really good layback type slash (well, it felt good to me but I have no idea what it actually looked like) and went to paddle back out.  I waited as the set rolled through then began to head towards the outside.  I had to duckdive on the shallow sandbar where all the sand was churned up, and I made the mistake of opening my eyes too early.  I got so much sand in my eyes and was pretty much blinded.  I managed to paddle outside so I wouldn’t get crushed while I was trying to clear my eyes.  I reached the outside, grunting in pain (I saw one young guy looking at me a bit concerned).  I dove under and opened my eyes, hoping to get the sand out.  I did this repeatedly but it took me a good 5-10 minutes to clear my eyes out.  It hurt like heck and I was pretty much blind because my eyes wouldn’t stay open.  I eventually got the sand out by lifting my upper lid over the eyelashes of my lower lid and clearing it out that way.  What a pain.  I was floating around gasping in pain and grabbing my eyes…ridiculous!

Anyway, it was a worthwhile surf session and really not that crowded.  But it was a bit faster than I would like, but overall a good challenge as I’m getting better at riding faster / steeper waves.  I want to eventually go to a place like the Mentawais so I want to make sure I’m capable and good at surfing barreling waves.  I really want to get barreled at some point in my life, so it’s time to start challenging myself a bit.

The thing I need to do more is “just go”.  I often pull back on waves that I’m deep on and nervous that I won’t make.  I think that if I don’t have one good wipeout in a session I’m not trying to push myself enough.

A Story As Good As The Telling

Somehow, man likes a story, and a story is only as good as the telling and the ending. If the telling overstates, or if the ending offers few rewards, then the story, like a bright balloon unstrung, will deflate.


And so the buildup of Carl Lewis, and whether he’d match Jesse Owens’s four gold medals in track and field in one Olympics, never resulted in the peak of excitement for which the network had hoped.


Part of the reason was Lewis’s aloofness and, early on, his almost-mechanical approach to his activities. But even more important was that the network’s incessant buildup was just too much of a good thing. It’s one thing to have teasers, another to overwhelm. Perhaps it was no coincidence that when Lewis won his fourth gold, in a relay, the event was shown on a 15-minute tape delay, instead of live. It seemed that even the network, subconsciously or otherwise, had grown tired of the hype.


The Summer Olympics was a wonderful show, however, and, for the most part, it was live, which was another difference from the Winter Games. Because of the time difference between Yugoslavia and the American continent, many of the results at Sarajevo were already known here when the events were televised. No rewards for the viewer, and no story.


It is understandable, from an American network’s point of view, that it would try to get the 1988 Olympics in South Korea to hold major events around 9 A.M., in order to attract an audience to live telecasts in prime time in this country. (What this might or might not do to the level of competition is another matter.)


The camera work of both the Summer and Winter Olympics was invariably beautiful or exciting or dramatic, and sometimes all three, from the kaleidoscopic multitude of oars flashing in the rowing races to Gabriela Andersen-Schiess’s staggering into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on the last leg of the women’s marathon.


From the broadcasting booths, ABC sought at first to make the Summer Olympics not just a great sports carnival but an American sports triumph (something it couldn’t do in Sarajevo, because the United States squad was not dominant). The network figured that this would sell, but the blatant cheerleading and the unprofessionalism antagonized many, even a good number of naturally partisan Americans.