Ocean City Today

Dalkiewicz: Surfing is a sport of moments

Surf Report
By Dave Dalkiewicz | Apr 26, 2018

(April 27, 2018) Surfing is a sport of moments.

In regards to most other sports, the term “game of inches” can readily be applied. It’s pretty easy to imagine and most of us have seen the “game of inches” in various forms.

A pitched baseball can be a ball or a strike by mere inches. A well-hit baseball can be in or out of the park by inches. A football offense, advancing the ball to a first down or a touchdown, can find the difference being only a few inches. A game-winning shot in basketball, in or out of the hoop by mere inches.

Even more dramatic is the golf shot that makes or misses the sand trap or body of water, or putted on the green, in or out of the cup, made or missed by a few inches. Surfers look for the moments, strive for them, travel for them.

Most surf sessions go down in less than stellar conditions. If one waited for the best swell, wind, tide,   and temperature he or she would rarely go surfing, if ever. That’s why when these moments come  along they are so well remembered and longed for; quite precious in fact.

Those of you who have pursued this sport of kings know of what I speak. Think of all the time spent in travel, to and from, even if it’s a local trip to Indian River Inlet or Assateague Island.

If one is lucky enough to venture farther up and down this East or West Coast or even to more exotic islands or countries, the time spent is even more pronounced.

Just the time spent getting in and out of wetsuit gear, walking to the water’s edge, or simply paddling out to the line-up. Waiting in the line-up, positioning one’s self, stroking into a carefully chosen peak or set wave; all in pursuit of the moment.

To think of all the time and effort spent, actually standing on a surfboard propelled in forward motion pales in comparison. There really isn’t much of a comparison at all.

The amount of time one is surfing is profoundly quite minimal, but therein lies the key. Ah, the moment. The feeling of that moment is all worth it.

In recent weeks, we’ve had a few significant south swells in addition to the fabled northeasters of March. About a week ago during early evening hours, with the tide just right on a well angled south swell with the offshore wind having backed off just a bit, I observed a couple of wet-suited surfers patiently waiting for a choice wave.

The best I saw stands out in my memory as I’m sure it did for the surfer. Paddling and jumping to his  feet the rider dropped in and turned off the bottom of the shoulder-high wave and trimmed up onto the well-formed face.

Dropping down once again the surfer turned a second time off the bottom and this time climbed more vertically up the wave face only to re-enter off the top of the wave into a cutback and subsequent tube ride.

Emerging onto the face of the wave once more the surfer elegantly kicked out over the top of the wave to complete a well executed ride. Speed, power and flow. Well done maneuvers performed in the most critical part of the wave.

If this had been a competition I’d have scored the ride a 7.5 out of 10 which would have been just shy of the excellent 8-10 range. Come to think of it  there was justification to jump it up into that excellent range. The rider and wave came together. Right swell, angle, tide and wind all combined at the right moment.

If this wasn’t the culminating moment for this surfer’s session I’m sure it was one of them. He obviously had taken the time to climb into wetsuit gear and paddle out, positioning and waiting for the best wave to take off on.

Who knows how long it took to get to the beach and how long it would take to get out of the wetsuit and back to home. The surfer was rewarded for the effort. He had to feel contentment from that good ride. I know that I was, just in the observation.

Indeed, surfing is a sport of moments.

—  Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City.

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