Standing on the pier I watch the surfers ride away the night and invite the day. They sit in the distance as silhouette statues, rising and falling with the sea. They are the old wizards. The long board dawn patrol. Not a one has seen less than a half century. They roll up in vanagons, open bed trucks, and old Woodie wagons. This is their ritual, their social club, communing with Nature and one another. Generations have seen riders of the sun and surf meet on this point.
When their daily ritual ends, they exit the ocean with gratitude. Each turns back to look at the waves that continue to crash. They can’t help but be pulled to look again. A bitter sweetness comes over them, stoked to have had the experience the morning offered tainted with a hint of sadness that comes with saying goodbye — to the ocean, to a part of themselves.
I was lucky to speak to a couple of these silver surfers and discovered that there is a kindness and vitality that comes from being a part of something greater than oneself. The ocean soaks into their skin and pours out in their exchanges with the world. It gives them a world view that, like the ocean itself, is expansive and welcoming.