Photo by me
The idea came to me, naturally, upon exiting the tube.
It was the first week of 2015 and on my last wave of a typically onshore South Australian summer day, I was gifted a quick cover-up to add an exclamation mark to an otherwise crummy surf.
Well, there’s pit #1 for 2015, I thought as I bus-drove to the beach. It was a light-bulb moment – how many pits could I tally in a year?
Out of pure laziness I didn’t start the count until 2016 (documented on my blog). The rules are hazy. I’d originally planned to count only made tubes, but quickly realised my target wasn’t feasible for an Adelaide weekend warrior. Closeouts and all manner of cover-ups were quickly added to the tally.
365 pits – a-barrel-a-day on average – was the goal, but the quest became more than a numbers game. I wanted to prove that the more time I spent in the salt, the better my mental and physical health. I’ve watched plenty of folks gradually give up waveriding – for partying, girls, jobs, etc. – and that’s perfectly fine. But I often wonder how they might’ve turned out different had they stuck with the thing that once pervaded their almost every thought.
Indeed, there are already a ton of words written on how surfing may affect the brain. Surfer magazine’s Brad Melekian grapples with the same questions as I (a lot more eloquently) in his 1987 piece, “The Science of Stoke”. In it he leans heavily on a paper (and interview) from two US scientists, Levin and Taylor, hypothesising that surfers might exhibit fewer symptoms of mental states like anxiety and depression.