Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Draft: A Christmas Story of a Boy's First Wetsuit

FIRST DRAFT (30 minutes) My mom took this photo Winter 1984.  This was the first winter that I surfed and I'm holding my first surfboard, a Dick Brewer (shaped by Gary Linden).  The year before, had started surfing and was hooked.  I surfed every day, whether there were waves or not...I was in the ocean thanks to my mom, grandmother, and the parents of my surfing mates.  I had sat the previous winter out, due to not having a full suit.  As the fall turned into early winter, the water got colder and my Piping Hot 2 mm vest no longer kept me warm; I wanted/needed a full suit.  I couldn't sit another winter out.  

During the summer and fall of 1983 my parents were fighting, probably due to my dad's gambling and unwillingness to get a job, as that would interfere with his bar and poker time.  My dad hated that I was a surfer for a variety reasons, mostly due to his ego wobbling under the weight of his son not being devoted to a "real sport", though I did play football, baseball, and basketball.  My dad was an asshole.  My mom, brother, and myself went to live with my grandmother and ended up staying with Granny into the winter.  I remember my dad arguing with my mom about me surfing during the winter, even though she wasn't living with him.  He insisted, as he always did that I should not surf and would grow out of it.  He would even tell me that after high school I would have to give it up. 

My mom loved the ocean as much as I do and she fought him on this.  All I wanted for Christmas was this wetsuit.  That year the move "A Christmas Story" was released.  Somehow I parlayed Ralphie Parker's desire for a BB gun into my own soul journey for year long surfing.  The wetsuit, a 3/2 Rip Curl Insulator, was under the tree Christmas morning at Granny's.  This was my first session.  It was knee high.  But, I remember my mom sitting on the beach watching me with her camera to take photos and, I guess, make sure I didn't drown.  As I write this I remember her, and all the ways she and granny encouraged me to pursue my passion and fought to make it so I could, from trips to the beach during the winter to showing me courage to live my dreams.