I am truly on vacation now till the end of the year. No camera work. No drawing of my days. Just enjoying the balmy temperatures here in Lahiana, Maui..... and spending my last ten days in paradise learning how to surf! As you may know this activity has been a long time obsession. At every attempt i seemed to be foiled by different obstacles. No waves. Waves too big. Living inland for months where waves don't exist. Broken ribs from a surfing fall. Etc. But south of Lahaina there lives a tiny baby wave that rolls in all day. Just big enough for a longboard to slide along on. A wave happy to see you, not out to smash your soul and grind you into the sand. The water temperatures are warm enough that wet suits are not used. Sharks only come by once in awhile. Other surfers are mostly like you, just learning, or life timers gracious enough to allow room in the lineup for a fumbling hobo who after a few days actually started getting rides and slowly picked up tips on how it all works. Casey lets me use an old beater board. I carry it on a bike, teetering from North Lahaina early each morning, all the way down Front Street to Puamana Park, being extra careful to not hit cars or tourists along the way. At 8AM i am usually sitting on the rocky shore in shorts and a cap, praying for waves and watching the sun rise on nearby Lanai. Yesterday it was just me and one other dude on a paddle board. I strap a long cord on to my ankle that is attached to the board. This keeps the board near you when you fall off, instead of careening towards other unsuspecting participants. You paddle with both arms like an old river boat and are soon about 30 yards from shore. The water is clear enough that you can see the bottom. Chunks of coral and the occasional fish glide by. You turn your board parallel to the beach and begin your search. You are looking for a slight rolling motion out to sea. After several days you can sense when a wave is worth going after or is too small to carry you towards shore. When a large enough swell comes along you quickly turn your board and begin paddling hard. When you feel the board tip forward you give two last hard double arm strokes and then do a push up like maneuver on the board with your arms. This gets your head up and readies you for the leap to your feet and the glide down the face of the wave. This is the point i have now progressed to. Riding wave after wave as far as it will carry me, walking around on the board, turning it ever so slightly left and right. I don't fall off very much. Yesterday i only fell off once. I have yet to see any sharks. This activity goes on for hours and hours until my thin arms will barely rise to bring a bagel to my lips during lunch, my chest sore from scrapping on the waxy board. Casey says it's now time to learn how to turn at the bottom of the wave and go back up it's face to ride on the curl. I say, just bring on a big enough wave and I'm there. So, finally, after all these years, i guess i am learning from the bottom up, how to surf. I've never been so happy. Will let you know when i reach the next level. Have 7 days left. Then it's home to those unmoving waves of snow and the already mastered art of snowboarding. HOBO

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