This guy could be me. Except I was holding the camera on the beach and my hair is gray. But a little while earlier I was catching some similarly middling-sized waves at this exact spot on Maui, enjoying myself hugely.
I've done a lot of boogie boarding, a.k.a. bodyboarding. A few years ago I wrote some do's and don'ts, quasi-humbly noting that my style was "not bad." Since, I've improved my boogie boarding. Both on the physical and philosophical front.
Whenever I head for shore after playing with the waves, I always feel more alive, more energized (even if I'm tired), more content with life. While I'm boogie boarding I don't spend much time thinking about why I enjoy it so much.
Here's an attempt to put into words what I intuitively learn from the Hawaiian ocean -- life lessons that are taught me so pleasurably by liquid nature.
-- You can't control the big things. Visiting Maui, I want large waves. My wife wants small waves, because she's into snorkeling. All our wanting, though, has exactly zero effect on what the ocean does. Waves do what they're going to do. Ditto with the major currents of life.
-- You can control how you relate to big things. My boogie boarding begins with watching from the beach. I pay attention to what's happening with the waves; where they're breaking, their size, how often " big ones" are coming in. The key is being in the right place at the right time, fitting in harmoniously with what's uncontrollable.
-- Change is the only constant. I've learned to always take my board and fins to the beach, even if conditions are calm. WIth the ocean, as with life, things can change quickly. You just never know. That's a really important thing to know.
-- Don't be afraid of being the only one. The more skilled I get at boogie boarding, the less I worry about being all alone in a wave-catching spot. Yes, sometimes there's a reason no one else is doing what you are. However, often other people either don't know how to catch the waves I can, or they don't want to. March to the beat of your own drummer, even if you're all by yourself.
-- Rushing isn't necessary. Paddling out to catch my first wave, or the twentieth one, I'm often tempted to go as fast as possible. But I've learned not to rush. Waves come in their own time. Flowing with their rhythm, not trying to push the ocean, I enjoy myself a lot more.
-- Missing an opportunity is no big deal. Looking out to sea, I'll spot a large approaching wave and think "this is going to be a great ride!" Then I'll miss it. Wrong place. Bad timing. Didn't kick hard enough to catch up to it. No biggie. I adjust, move to a better spot. There's always a next time. (Well, until there isn't.)
-- Patience. Acceptance. Mindfulness. These qualities are natural while waiting for a wave. I used to wonder how a surfer or boogie boarder could bob out on a calm sea for a long time. I thought that'd be boring. Actually, it isn't. There's no such thing as "not doing anything." The ocean always is doing a lot. So is life. We just need to pay attention to the small currents, the little flowings, as much as the big ones.
-- Not knowing what you're doing is really doing it. Sometimes when I'm boogie boarding I realize that I don't know how I'm successfully catching waves. I just am. Less thinking often makes for better doing, especially with physical activities. Trust yourself, once you're minimally competent. Dance like nobody is watching, not even you.
-- Get out of your mind! Go a little (or a lot) crazy! My considered opinion is that at times we all need to set reasonable considerations aside, along with the opinions of other people. Just freaking do what feels good, what turns you on, even (or especially) if it's on the wild or dangerous side.
The anthem for this: "Get out of your mind!" Is boogie boarding on big waves near dangerous rocks/reefs sort of crazy? Of course it is. That's why I love it. Find your own craziness. Embrace it. Life is too short to be lived totally sane.