Following the election I expressed my feelings about the outcome in an email with my sister. Today, with hundreds of thousands of people protesting around the world and 25-30 foot waves slamming the beach near my home they feel appropriate to post.
I don’t know where to begin so I’ll start in the ocean. To me the last week has felt like being in the ocean amongst big waves. I’m never fully comfortable in these situations, I’m always worried a big set will suddenly appear on the horizon and catch me inside. The current, which can be futile to paddle against, pulls in one direction or another making it impossible to be in the right place. My breath is always shallow—each breath is not enough, I have very little control of the situation.
Kevin Cunningham, a surfboard-shaper based in Rhode Island, has embarked on a project to create a series of boards from trash he finds washed up on the beach. Over the years the surf industry has dipped it’s toes into sustainable board design but this project is downright audacious. Drift wood and plastic will become the skin and ropes; fishing nets will act to strengthen the board; and plastics (bags and sheets) will be pressed and formed into fins. The boards will be both art and functional water craft. Initially they will be shown in galleries around the country . . . hopefully after they have been put through the paces in the ocean.
A storm will blow for hours or days generating waves that will travel thousands of miles eventually breaking on some far off coast. On that journey a wave will hardly shift the position of any of the water molecules it carries. Only the energy of the wind travels, not the water around it. As a surfer I’ve been tossed every which way by waves. Depending on the force, it can slam you into the ocean bottom or calmly lap over your board. One second you’re riding on top of one, or pushing through one, and the next second that wave has broken, it’s gone.
Being injured is a difficult thing, especially when your sport is nature dependent like surfing. Last weekend things warmed up in San Francisco and the surf look pretty good. Unfortunately, I’ve been nursing a bad back so I was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch. Luckily for me my highly anticipated new camera lens (Nikon 18-200VR) had arrived last week. This gave me a change to enjoy the beach and take some time to play with my new lens. I’m so used to rushing into the water, scrambling into my wetsuit and spiriting across the sand that it was nice to slow down and take in the nuances of the beach. I shot weird rips in the water, the texture on the sand, and of course perfect waves that I mind surfed as I snapped the shutter. Enjoy!