Surfing Montauk with Debra Rose

It’s Not About the Wave

Debra Rose

“You should have been here yesterday!”

Most surfers have been taunted by this common post-surf report, delivered cheerfully with a hint of schadenfreude.  Surfers are a conflicted bunch, communal by nature, individual in practice, often territorial yet protective of one another.  When we had surf-poster-worthy waves breaking around Montauk late September there was endless chatter about where you surfed and what you missed.

Parts of the surfing experience frequently taken for granted are the very reasons we surf in the first place.  When is the last time watching the sunrise was the backdrop to your pick-up basketball game?  How often do you sit on a bench with your friends staring at the tennis court, debating whether you will play?  While catching waves and paddling back out for more is what keeps us going, appreciating the process embedded in the surfing experience is the foundation in which our time in the water is built.

Surfing is often described as “pure joy” and we know how some days the conditions are tumultuous and others quiet and predicable.  Not knowing what to expect provides endless anticipation and fascination with checking the waves and planning to surf.  Some days you are sitting on your board in a sea of what looks like thick, sparkling mercury, others you are paddling until you are happily exhausted.  On big days your tenacity is hopefully rewarded with an assembly line of waves to catch.  Spending time viewing the landscape from the water at sunrise, sunset or the peak of the day offers a vantage point like no other, you have the option which time of day to capture.

Après surf is constantly changing, there is no set time for when you have that post-surf calm, avoiding the monotony in other activities and experiences.  The surprise of a fun session when it did not look surfable, appreciating the beauty of nature, being humbled by the ocean, and staying in the moment without room to ruminate are the real reasons we surf.  It’s not only about the swell…or the wave.