Last week, I got a short reprieve from work and went climbing up the north. Had a few stops which include me and my friends getting lost somewhere in the mountainous area of Ilocandia. Nothing to worry though. We got out of it alive with few scratches and, as my friend love to call it, a near-death-experience, where we were holding onto each others' arms for our dear life, indeed narrowly escaping death via a sharp fall straight to hell from that treacherous cliff. Again, we're fine.
But the main target of this short get-away is to experience surfing in San Juan, La Union, christened as the surfing capital of the north.
The waves looked pretty cool. Death-defying, as my friend described it (he loves equating everything to death), but I actually thought they were gentle enough for beginners like us. It's the genesis of surfing season thus both locals and foreign fanatics are starting to troop to different surfing camps across the country.
It was a year ago when we discovered the joys of surfing. It was in Baler, Aurora, where, despite our fears of never stepping onto a dry land again drowned by the deafening roars of the Pacific Ocean, we hired an instructor and just went for it, hearts thumping from nervousness. Surprisingly, before five minutes of it could pass, we knew. We're in love with it!
La Union's waves, as I initially observed, indeed was way gentler than those of Baler's. Although I should say that my Aurora-native instructor was gentler compared to the guy I hired in San Juan. The latter was more professional about it while the former seemed more like a friend teaching than a real instructor. In fact, I'm still blushing every time I remember that instance when, due to the smashing wave of the Pacific, my board short almost left me, exposing my ass as I was climbing back on top of the board. Luckily, he was kind enough to put it back. Embarrassing.
As I stepped on the surfing board, the familiar sensation kicked in. It was liberating, euphoric. If diving into the sea feels like being with the sea, and diving is like being one with it, surfing is like conquering it. And because it relies deeply in ephemeral conditions, every ride, though only last for seconds, felt like a glimpse to eternal ecstasy.
It's possible that I'm exaggerating. That my overly poetic mind is altering the simpleness of it all. But really, it's no walk in the park to be able to stand the staggering waves. Truth is it's dangerous. It's tough. It requires a lot of strength, timing and balance to push yourself up. That's why it's a different rush of bliss, a revelry of its own kind.
From the simple thought of being able to surf up to the metaphorical progression you can equate with it, surfing is one of those few things that brings me a certain kind of calm and pleasure. Like basketball and writing and jet skiing. A memory I always visit when the tides of everyday grind get tough. For whenever I'm up there alone, the sea on my feet, the heavens on my face, the entirety of it, it tells me that "it's alright" and "I'm alright."