Earlier today I read a news article about surfers in Newquay hoping to surf the big waves expected from Hurricane Gordon. Tigger and I were in Newquay recently so the article caught my eye.
Newquay and its surrounding beaches have become a Mecca for surfers. In Newquay itself, every other shop seems to be selling wetsuits, surf boards and clothing for surfers or for wannabes who stroll around in surfer gear. The cafes are full of young men (and occasionally young women) with sun-bleached hair and tattered shorts avidly discussing their exploits.
As for the surfers themselves, whom Tigger calls “penguins” because of their resemblance to that sympathetic if comic bird, I really have no idea why they do it and would be more than pleased to have someone explain it to me.
Go to any of the sandy bays and look out to sea. You will see hundreds of black dots. Those dots are surfers (or “penguins”, if you prefer). There they all stand, up to the armpits in water, bouncing up and down as the waves roll in. It’s rather like watching cricket: at a cursory glance nothing, but absolutely nothing, seems to be happening.
But wait! Every now and again you will see a penguin scramble onto his board and, if you’re lucky, actually surf a few yards. If you’re really lucky, this rare event will endure in excess of ten seconds. Then down he goes in a flurry of foam and up goes his surf board in a movement christened “the toaster” by Tigger as the board pops up out of the water like bread out of a toaster.
Then it’s back to bobbing up and down for who knows how long until the next good wave comes along.
Now, because they do it, that is, spend long hours every day bobbing about like flotsam, and do it is such numbers (locals and tourists alike complain that they can no longer use the beaches for traditional activities) there must be some reward in it.
I just wish someone would explain it to me. Or is it like enlightenment: if you ain’t got it you can’t understand it?