Some thoughts as I head home.
This has been an incredible experience. I realize how lucky I’ve been to be on Team USA West—it’s a complete fluke that I’m here and I’d likely never have made the team via the usual trials process.
It’s been 18+ years since I left North County San Diego for Real Jobs™ on the East Coast, in the Mid-Atlantic (poor surf) and Maine (frigid water), and deep inside I still miss the Coastal California lifestyle of hitting the water on the way to or from work most days. Three years ago. in what was arguably a midlife crisis, I bought my surf kayak, and then to justify the purchase I attended the NOC Surf Kayak Camp with Spencer Cooke, Team USA East, a year later. But really, living in Delaware I don’t get to use the boat much. So I’d been vaguely thinking that I needed to go somewhere for a week this Fall to do a surfing safari when this opportunity arose. It sounded to be a much better alternative. How much better, I had no idea.
Just being on a beach for a week and a half would have been a great vacation, but doing it in the presence of and with the coaching of the best in the world was simply unbelievable. Making new friends from around the world, eating delectable food, the fun, the partying—it all added up to the adventure of a lifetime.
And then there is the Team—five of the most fun, crazy and just plain nice people you could ever hope to meet. In that mysterious indefinable way that happens on occasion, we jelled into something more like a family than a team, and we will be friends and teammates forever.
It’s cost some money, and it will be a scramble to get caught up at work when I get back. No worries, it’s been worth it.
Hmmm…it is only 2 years to the next World Championships….
Final thanks to:
Drew Hayes, my neighbor and purveyor of surf boats, for selling me my boat for really cheap. If things go well, I’ll be seeing you for a new boat.
Kevin Foley, for the loan of your board bag. You’ve got a Team USA West t-shirt coming your way.
Spencer Cooke (http://effort.tv/), for his expertise and support. See you in the surf sometime soon, I hope.
The PPCS Chowderheads (http://www.paddleandchowder.org), for support and best wishes.
Team USA West, for the friendship, coaching, support, and most of all, taking me on this adventure: Jimmy Sensei for the coaching, Wayne-san for the stories and the laughs and the obscure quotes that only us old guys understand, Devon for being an amazingly inspirational competitor, Jeff for organizational wizardry including arranging the loan of a boat for training in Santa Cruz (CA) last month, and Rachael for being such a sweetheart. See you in Santa Cruz if not before.
And last, but most of all, to She Who Is Small But Mighty, for pushing me to go on this adventure. I love you.