September Sessions (and belated birthday thoughts)

As you can see, it's been a stacked couple of days-- weeks-- and here we are, at the tail end of September with nary an update earlier than this.

Some apologies are in order. Let's see if this entry can make up for the long silence.

I previously wrote about transitioning to a shorter board, and in retrospect, I realise that September has been about nothing but transitions. Here, I try to recall and recap the fury of such fast days, and within the flurry of it all, I also managed to turn a year older. Hello, birth month. Goodbye, birth month. Time to turn another page.

 

THE NEW JOB

An entire year after my last full time job ended, I now find myself stepping into the world of endless emails and virtual meetings again. Prior to this, I was living 4-day weekends because I taught college subjects only thrice a week. However, as all grown up tales go, you find out that the magic fountain does run out, and soon, it was time to start hustling again.

I had a good run though: one full year of sweet introductions, surf trips, sun burn and seafood, and strengthening and stretching all that could be strengthened and stretched. Not to mention the weekly ritual of burning rubber lines across a limitless road. I might have only subsisted in part-time pay the last three-hundred-and sixty-five days but there I was, learning the previously un-learnable, and happier that way.

But like I said, I'm back to configuring the POP3/IMAP settings on my phone and overthinking the color schemes of my time tables and spreadsheets. And you know what? It feels great! It really does. At first, I was apprehensive about taking this step back into World War Work because it was exactly that-- a step backward. I've given up and gained so much to steer my life into this direction, only to make a wide and wild detour. Why?

Because it wasn't a detour at all. Yes, I've re-entered the rat race but as something else. A mind refreshed and raring to think, make plans, create structure. Someone who does not mind the Mondays because efficiency can be a new source of stoke. And that's when I knew: surfing has made me more efficient therefore I seek it too. Somehow, it has made the nine-to-five feel bearable, better even. Most people regard work as the enemy to the entire “hang loose” lifestyle but I’ve realised that there’s more to be gained from a life by the sea than just being free of responsibility.

For one, you learn to procrastinate less because you know that timing is everything. Show up at a spot at 8 instead of 7 and you miss the morning glass. Conditions will change and change and change, so you have to adjust, adjust, adjust. Sometimes, it’s a big thing like switching off a negative mood or changing to a more suitable board. But even little changes, the half-step back closer to your tail, or that full inch you pump up your chest, all these minute details can make the most impact.

Besides, this little wait will make the move to the ocean more lasting. ;)


The newest pup in Pundaquit. :)

SIMPLE DAYS 

My sister and I both had new boards to try this month and I still find it amusing that our lives are now intertwined because of surfing. We've always had different groups of friends, somewhat contrasting interests, and now we're paddling out to the same spots and hanging out with the same set of awesome people. For my birthday, we had arroz caldo and cake with the Pundaquit family and we waited for the storm swell to clean up and deliver.


Sundaes with Red and Wang-wang, the future rippers!

Sundaes with Red and Wang-wang, the future rippers!

And deliver it did! The Rivermouth was good to us. It looks mellow in this picture but the waves are actually fast and steep with tubing sections on the inside. This month marked the first time I got to play in the Rivermouth without chickening out. I used to be really afraid of making the drop and plunging into the shallow break to eat sand. I guess now you can say I'm less afraid (and more accepting of eating sand, haha!).

TIME IN THE WATER

As of today, I have been surfing for 1 year and 10 months. Yes, I'm the type who keeps count but I've also recently realised that there are better ways to tell how much time you've spent in the water. Years can be flimsy; they over-reach or under-tell. So I'd rather count board time and natural time.

Board time is about the hours you spend getting to know your board and getting to know yourself with the board. The days you spend surfing vs. the days you spend mind-surfing until one day you close the gap between the two.

(One of my greatest fears is all of this ending. If, for some unnatural reason, I'd have to go on a break or give it up and unravel all the progress and happiness I've earned throughout these sessions and trips. May that day never come.)

And natural time is my favorite kind of time. There are no hours, minutes or seconds-- only nature. Wind and weather can dictate when it's time to surf or time to just lay back in a hammock and strum a ukulele. Tides are reliable time-keepers too. This spot works best at high tide, and another will barrel when it is low, and for some, magic happens at mid-tide. So know when to go.

Then there's daylight: easy at dawn, the best time to surf; harsh at noon, so I'd have to get out of the water lest my contacts melt into my eyes; and soothing again before dusk, so we play until the last slivers of light slice through the sky. Then, it's only a few more hours until bedtime where sleep becomes the fast-forward motion toward the morning when we can surf again. Eat, sleep, surf, repeat. Clockwork, indeed.

But there's no escaping real time so it's pretty cool to finally own a surf watch. Freestlye Watches, a pioneer brand in waterproof sports watches, is coming to the Philippines and I'm quite lucky to receive the Shark Classic in vibrant blue, yellow and cyan. Fun, form and function (and alliteration) in one!

Check out Freestyle Watches PH to catch details of their launch. :)

MOVEMENTS UP NORTH

Everything's moving in stride with the season. Days of rain are interrupted by sporadic stretches of hot sun, as if the summer was in a hurry to get here.

After watching the surf forecast for days, we finally see the arrows wrap around from the north, and so we brace ourselves for the longer drives.

Hello, Jacky! :)

Hello, Jacky! :)

The Bowl, Cemento, Baler. (09/2014) Photo by Ely Cresencio.

The Bowl, Cemento, Baler. (09/2014) Photo by Ely Cresencio.

And to mark the south swell's transition to the north swell with pictures, below are some of my most recent surf pictures captured in sequences by Atty. Ely Cresencio. Thanks, Attorns.

This first set was taken at one of the last south swell sessions in Magic Left at the start of August. I was going frontside on good ol' Cheehoo!

And this second set was from last week's trip to Baler, when I finally braved making the drop in Cemento's Cobra Reef. That wave is still a bit too intimidating for me! Good thing the Bowl was just a few paddles away, and there, I got stoked on the 5'10" Flyer (which I appropriately named Baby Cheehoo).

I did a stinkbug grab but it's a start! Haha. It was a real pleasure to go backside again after a season of lefts. :)

AND SO THAT WAS MY SEPTEMBER. Turning a year older, getting back to the 9 to 5, braving faster waves, riding a shorter board, and simply reveling in every second spent in the water. 

Life is good.


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