Stab Magazine | An Ode To Insanity

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An Ode To Insanity

The blissful, obsessive irrationality of surfing. 

style // Jun 13, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It was a sunny day. Hot, too. One-foot walls of water made their way toward a beach that was half sand and half skin then impotently collapsed about ten feet from the shoreline. There were twenty people surfing.

Surfing, in that instance, is a relative term — in my opinion, what I witnessed that day would more effectively be described as either “a lowland gorilla attempting a Richard Simmons workout on VHS tape” or “people who bought the $800 resin-tint bullshit twin-fin because it looked cool.” And yet, there they were. All twenty of ‘em.

This is insane.

That conclusion was based off a norm I’d gotten a little too comfortable with. Less than three months ago, under grey skies, in a cold rain, with wind that was only a little bit weird, the North Atlantic produced some of the most fun overhead bowls I’ve ever laid my rail on. There was not one other person in the water. This was a normal occurrence. This was the exact same spot.

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Trekking through the snow covered sands of Nova Scotia and donning a 5/4/3 and boots just to wiggle about on a block of foam, that’s not insane. Is it?

Photography

Mike Bromley

Fucking insane.

Insanity — which can be defined as extreme folly or unreasonableness — that people would only want to go in the ocean and ride waves when the sun is shining high and bright and the water is warm enough to wear boardshorts and everybody is tan and people are half-naked or occasionally full-naked and sometimes even attractively so. There’s nothing reasonable about that.

What is reasonable, though, is working your ass off to save up a couple grand and not putting that money into an account or a house or making any form of traditional investment with it, and instead opting to spend it on a flight to the other side of the world based off a whisper you heard from a friend of a friend. Reasonable is leaving a warm bed at 5 AM with the desperate hope that maybe the forecasters got it wrong, maybe the wind won’t pick up so damn early. Reasonable is dedicating a large chunk of your life to pursuing some phantom thrill.

Right?

I thought about the places where reason has guided me. Like a halfway house in Puerto Rico because it was on their version of Craigslist and was the cheapest room in town. And behind the wheel of an automobile weaving its way in a zen-like-fear through an Arab street market in Africa because going around it would’ve taken too long and we had a tide to beat. Or the oppressively cold waters of a New Jersey winter, with sideways snowflakes pelting my pre-teen cheeks and digging straight to the bone, all for a waist-high windswell. You probably have stories that relate — obsession manifests itself in many different ways. 

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This wave at the Right, as ridden by Mark Mathews, is though.

Photography

CALUM MACAULAY

But obsession also manifests insanity. Often in life, always in surfing. In both: you don’t realise it’s happening. Without demand or warning, your perspective warps in a radical way — a way that yanks up the roots of logic and sets them all on fire, so why even try to describe it in terms that the unelectrified majority could understand?

Standing, ten feet from the shoreline, waiting for another one-foot wave to try to burgle a foam climb off of — I had the thought one last time.

This is fucking insane.

Something was different though. I finally knew where that insanity lived. And I thanked it for all those vivid delusions for exposing me to sights and sounds and thoughts and feelings that sane people forever insulate themselves from.

Maybe it’s time you thank insanity too. If not, sick twinny. Is that a resin tint?

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