The Plight Of The Stand Up Surfer
I had just entered “their” lineup on my way through while on a long distance SUP tour.
“Oh no, here comes one of those wave hogs,” remarked a crusty old longboarder to his equally crusty cohort.
I was just passing through. I hadn’t caught a wave. I hadn’t made an aggressive move toward an approaching swell. It didn’t matter. Standing tall with a big board and paddle, it’s inevitable. The curse, that is.
If you are a Seinfeld fan you may remember the Curse of the Kavorka. In this episode, officially titled The Conversion, Kramer is spellbound by the Kavorka, an ancient Latvian curse, which has women falling madly in love (and lust) with a tall, gangly, neurotic character. The lure of his spell is too great, and no matter how hard Kramer tries, women would throw themselves at him. Kramer, of course, try as he might, time and time again, succumbs to the seductive powers of the women. He is cursed with, quite frankly, too much of a good thing.
As an avid stand up surfer, I believe I’m cursed with surfing’s version of the Kavorka. Time and again waves just seem to come to me. Sometimes I don’t even have to paddle, the waves just pick me up. They march directly toward me, throw themselves at my feet and taunt me. It’s as if my big board and paddle serve as some sort of lure.
So I ride.
Even if I attempt resistance, it does no good. The seductive powers of the wave have me in their spell. No matter how hard I try, there I go again, on another set wave. Or even just a medium sized “underneath” roller. Or, an insider, whatever, it doesn’t matter, I’m going. And I do try to limit my taking. But alas, it doesn’t matter, I’m cursed. The Kavorka has me in its grip.
Surfing’s version of the Kavorka is unique because it is perception-based. As they say, perception is reality, and in this case, what others see, and what others think they see are two different realities.
I’ll try to sit in the channel. I’ll wait out a few sets. (I will!) I’ll stand alone in the channel, as waves pour through. It doesn’t matter. I’ll politely whistle out when set waves are approaching. I’ll wait more than my fair share of time before even attempting to catch my next wave. It doesn’t matter. The curse. In the eyes of the other surfers, I’m always on a wave. I could wait 20-minutes between rides with a bullhorn, vigorously passing out set waves to the hungry, and hooting at each ride as my fellows flail this way and that. But alas, it wouldn’t matter. The Kavorka works a dark magic.
All that my fellows observe is me paddling, catching and riding ‘another’ wave. Herein lies the real power of the Kavorka curse. No matter how considerate SUP riders claim to be, and often times can be, we are, in the eyes of all, always “riding another damned wave.”