I am good at nothing. I have no skill, no trade, no passion. I am completely unexceptional.

However, I have reason to believe I'm better-than-average at body surfing: so far this summer, 3 completely different, un-set-up people have expressed their admiration for my ability to ride waves with no board of any kind. That's right. When everyone else is standing on their surf boards or hanging onto their boogie boards, I am skimming the surface on my bare skin. (In case anyone's wondering, 2 people asked me straight off how to do what I do, and the third wanted to see if I really had some kind of board concealed somewhere.)

When the masses flock to beg for wisdom, I tell them these things:

The idea is to swim at the exact speed of the wave, in the same direction. Hopefully, if you're in the right place, there will be a moment when you realise the force of the wave is great enough to take you up to the shore without anymore swimming from you. You can just relax, as the wave smashes you down onto the water and drags you up to the beach.

However, you cannot be too far in front of the wave, or too far behind it, because the certain moment where the wave takes control of you is specific. Let me explain it like this:

There is a car driving on the road, and when the car reaches a certain sign it will speed up an extra 10mph. You are standing on the road, and you are hoping to jump onto the hood of the car so that you will get a ride. Now if you are standing behind the sign, the car will speed up before it reaches you, and will be too fast to land on, and instead will smack into you.

The sign is the point where the wave starts to break.

But the wave is constantly speeding up, and the problem is if you try to swim with it too early then the force will not be great enough to take you with it, and will float right by you.

So the challenge is to start swimming with the wave just before it starts to break. Timing is everything.

Another criterion one might want to examine, when anticipating an excursion into body surfing; the depth of the water and the height of the wave.

Sometimes the waves break with such gusto, that one is bound and determined to ride that wave..Now keep in mind, that when body surfing, you are actually in the wave, unlike board surfers who ride atop the wave. Therefore when that wave crashes into the hard ocean floor below it, so might you. Unless the depth of the water is sufficient to give you enough room to recoil from the crashing wave without crashing into the bottom. And we often forget the incredible awesome power of the ocean.

All I'm saying here is be careful; being picked up and slammed by the ocean, is much akin to being dropped on your head as a 2 year old from a height of 2 feet; not enough to kill you, but enough for you to know that you've been in the hands of something else, way more powerful than yourself.

But, all of that out of the way, and no pun intended, body surfing is a kick in the head.

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