higher highs

September 29, 2010

Adventure seekers are all around us. And they are not easy to classify.

Some would say these people are thrill seekers, adrenaline junkies who will do anything to reach a new height of nirvana.

Those, however, who share a love of adventure, but pull it back before the adrenaline obsession begins, recognize kindred spirits in these searching souls.

I personally have always held a more modest interest in interests, if you will. For me, there was always so many hobbies to attend to, but so little time.

My years in gymnastics pretty much lived out that dream. Looking back, I didn’t quite live out my dance and horse riding days. Working with animals in a vet clinic remain unrequited dreams–more on that later. Banging on the drums became an early-20s fixation, with visions of beating out solos in front of adoring audiences haunting my dreams, only after a few months to be met with the many hazards of owning a drum set–and trying to move it more than once. The muscles of rock climbers and the obvious skill of scaling a mountain drew me to buy my first–and only–pair of rock climbing shoes (not cheap, by the way); however, my lack of rock climbing buddies has kept me out of the shoes for a while, but I’m workin’ on it. Snowboarding’s surface similarities to surfing lured me in and led to a trip with well-groomed boarders, and I semi-swiftly made it down the mountain, even if I could never make it off a ski lift.

Which brings me to surfing, an experience I’ve yet to have that remains like a pesky mosquito that, swat as I might, I can never be rid of.

So in my everlasting quest to one day catch a wave, I did some research on the pluses and (in order to appear unbiased) minuses of the sport. And my findings were slightly unsettling.

First, for the good news:
Cardiovascular improvement from all of the energy needed to catch that killer wave.
Strength and muscle building from the paddling and the standing and balancing.
Increased flexibility.
Improved mood and overall mental health from the exhilaration and peace that comes from the ocean.

Now, the bad news:
Living things in the sea—This includes sharks, sting rays, jelly fish: painful and dangerous. The general rule is they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Mmmmm–so said the one-handed surfer.
Earth—Rocks and coral, most specifically. Of course, wipeouts happen, so scouting out your surfing turf beforehand will help to pinpoint the danger areas, as well as wearing protective gear.
Drowning—The best thing to do is to cover your face and relax; no panicking or struggling, which will only hinder you from rising to the surface.
And the most eye opening of all is a condition that has hardly caught wind due to the small number of people affected: Surfer’s Myelopathy—This rare injury affected a high school student that I know and has been reported among beginner surfers. It can cause short- and long-term paralysis due to loss of blood flow to the spinal cord, believed to be caused by hyperextension of the back while lying on the surf board for long periods of time.

New surfers are encouraged, if they feel any leg weakness, discomfort or tightening in their back, or hear popping sounds, to seek medical help quickly. Quick detection is believed to be a factor in recovery. More information can be found at http://www.smawareness.org/.

Surfers swear that there’s no rush like the rush of catching that mega wave. And I don’t doubt it.

But I like knowing that I’m going to make it out alive after a knitting session. And with all of the unconquered hobbies still on my horizon, I’m thinking the surfboard may be lower on my list than I expected.

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One Response to “higher highs”

  1. rubyred44 said

    oh gosh i love you girl. you are amazing and so is your writing! love reading it :)i particularly like this one. esp the comment at the end about knowing you’ll come out alive after one of your knitting sessions! that reminds me, where are my needles…. 😀

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