Facing Fear and Grief Without Flinching

Knowing Your True Friends

When you go through something heavy, like losing someone you love, you have a difficult path to follow, but it is also an opportunity to learn a lot about yourself, the people in your life, and the things that you do and consume. This is a time to call upon your courage. It’s also a time to cut out anything that is not really helping you to be your best version of yourself. For me, this meant stopping things that I may have been using as distractions, ceasing all escapism. 

I am currently in the middle of a grieving process, having lost my father at the end of October. Since that time, I have gone through intense emotional pain, but I have also learned a lot about myself. What I have learned, ironically, I already knew somewhere deep down. I knew who had my back and who most certainly did not, and, in both cases, it was me. I was fooling myself. No more.

Emotions and the Ocean

Some days, the bay looks placid and peaceful, more like a lake than a raging sea. Other days, it howls and fumes venting some unknown fury on the land and its inhabitants like a vengeful god. It’s no wonder the Ancient Greeks made myths out of the forces of the ocean.

Something similar exists with human emotion. Storms will arrive and with them the normally calm state of our being erupts into destructive chaos. Therefore, it is critically important to know yourself emotionally. To weather the storm, you must know where to go and where not to go. 

Full Moon, Raging Storm, and People on the Cliff

These past few days have brought the crazy out of people and it has brought the crazies out. I’m reminded of the first few days of the lockdown, when people were forced to stop working and it felt as though the world was going to end. I would walk with my daughter and our dog through the neighborhood to get some exercise and to create a new healthy pattern that would feel normal. How do you explain to a seven-year-old why the world is suddenly so scary?

I remember seeing people I knew, and they were so full of fear they wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence. People who had previously been powerful were reduced to idiots mumbling and stumbling around with their mouths open. It’s been the same with this storm. It has stirred up some old musty fears repressed so deeply they forgot they even existed. 

When I walk around town, I keep alert to these emotional zombies because they are dangerous, much more dangerous than the homeless people strung out on meth. They are the ones who do not see you in the crosswalk, who have lost all sense of decency and would run you over like a bug. People jacked up on pharmaceuticals and financing who have lost their sense of the order of things and the significance of human life.

One Lone Surfer

At the height of the storm, I kept thinking about Tazy. If I didn’t know where to go, I would just think of him. Go where Tazy would go. So, I’ve been to some pretty cool spots. I have no doubt that if he was still in town, he would have surfed the guts out of this series of storms. That’s just what he does because he is a sea creature who is made for this. I don’t know where he is or what he’s up to these days, but I have nothing but love for Anthony Tashnick and Santa Cruz is much less cool without him.

I was especially thinking of him when we had a low tide and enormous swells rolling through with such a wild combination that was breaking so far out beyond Saber Jets it was insane to witness. I had no doubt that he would be out there, but nobody was. I saw a couple of jet skis and that was it. Then, yesterday I saw the video and it made me cry. Shaun Burns caught one huge monster of a wave and rode that thing for a mile. Why did I cry? It reminded me of Barney and Tazy and my dad and their courage so big that even mother nature couldn’t stop it. I miss those guys with all my heart, but it gave me so much joy to see Burnsy get that wave.

Hey Santa Cruz brands! Give Shaun Burns all the sponsorships. Thanks, that’s all for now. 

Eden Edwards’ Power Surfing

It’s fun to photograph Eden Edwards’ surfing. She’s a friendly person, smiling and making jokes, but make no mistake: she’s part shark. Once in the water, she lurks and waits till the ocean shows certain bumps on the horizon and then she starts moving around in the lineup and as the best wave of the set rolls closer she’s in position and she paddles with the confidence of a surfer who has caught thousands of waves.

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As the Lane mostly serves up chunky rights and she is goofy footed, Edwards has mastered the art of the bottom turn to backside hack, a la Ruffo, and each year she is more aggressive in her approach and more stylish in her execution.

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Stay tuned for more ripping surfing from one of Santa Cruz’s bright young talents.