Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mark Twain On Wipeouts


A fine chap called Gregory emailed me and had me wondering if I could be the next Face Of A Major Surf label. I have to say I wondered about that possibility for longer than a nanosecond - but only just. I spent much longer re-playing some waves caught & lost at the weekend. I was trying out a boogie board that Sea Nymph won in a raffle. The old hamstring is healing well but I figured I'd take the opportunity to flex a flipper and check the twinge factor. I got as much craic sitting out the back and watching some mates surf with the confidence and skill that comes with having spent time in the ocean from more or less around the time they gave up breastfeeding.

From Roughing It by Mark Twain

"In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen (sic) would paddle three or four hundred yards out to sea (taking a short board with him), then face the shore and wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its foamy crest and himself upon the board, and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell! It did not seem that a lightning express-train could shoot along at a more hair-lifting speed. I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right, and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself. The board struck the shore in three-quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me. None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly.

Ain't that the truth Mr.Twain...


surf98/dgeorge said...

I can feel a perfect affinity to Mr. Twains words there. I love the idea that ‘None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly’. Perhaps it is a little too local to agree but; the best surfers tend to be the ones who are born close to, and grow up next to, then live near the ocean.
Good quote.

Beach Bum said...

I really need to read more of Mark Twain's stuff. Especially the travel books. At least the board didn't knock him aside the head like it has happen to me so many times.