When we started windsurfing, our lives changed. Some of those changes were subtle. Who among us can ever drive across a bridge over a lake and not look to see if there are white caps? Others, more substantial, the way we spend our spare time and money, where we go on vacation, and even how and when we work.
But sometimes, windsurfing changes us. Not what we do, but, who we are.
My change was about five years ago. I'd windsurfed for years by then, of course. But, I'd entered that part of middle age where family demands overshadow personal hobbies and activities. My kids were busy and I spent a lot of time with them, driving them, watching their sports. None of this I regret in the least. But, slowly, I was morphing from a butterfly into a caterpillar.
My future without windsurfing. No disrespect to the dude in the photo, I feel ya, buddy.
I'd always been reasonably fit between windsurfing and my other hobby, cycling. In my younger days, it was not uncommon to ride between 150-200 miles per week. Over the years, though, my fitness declined and my wet suit became a bit more snug. Visibly, it didn't show too much so it was easy to ignore the changes.
That year at spring break, my father-in-law was kind enough to take my kids and several cousins to see the Mouse in Orlando. As any good Georgia windsurfer knows, Cocoa Beach is a 45 minute drive from the Mouse. The plan was to crash with them and while the kids were
running around waiting in line at the Mouse, I'd motor over to Cocoa and get my jollies in at Kelly Park (technically, on Merritt Island).
Not only was it a good plan but the weather looked promising: 70 degrees and several days of East at 15-20. The first day down, that's exactly what I found. I was able to rig a 5.7 on a 100 liter board and go out in a shorty.
And, like any time you go out when it's been a while, as soon as the board is on top of the water you remember why you love this sport so much.
But the plan had one big flaw: I was out of shape. Really badly out of shape. So much so, that in an hour I was toast, done, cooked, finished, kaput, gassed, had my ticket punched and pretty much exhausted. I was no longer the guy who could sail six hours a day in Rodanthe or all afternoon at Van Pugh. I was winded, my arms could barely hold the sail and it was a struggle just to get everything back on the beach and packed. It was very depressing. I had become that guy I promised I never would be, going a place I'd promised I'd never go- sliding to middle-aged oblivion
I realized that something had to change. I started riding again (those first rides were sobering as well) as well as committing to windsurfing more and just generally being more active. Things have been better since. I struggle in my own way with food at the holidays but I can windsurf and cycle for several hours without need of an oxygen tank.
But that's my story. I'm more interested in hearing yours. Add it to the comments below.
Too obvious ...
For those inclined for something from this
decade ... ahem, century.