There was an article in the July 30th edition of San Francisco Magazine titled Wild Surf. As a surfing enthusiast, I could not even escape from the article. My wife must open the unopened newspaper. This means that she would be a bit pissed if I first open the paper. She said that it was the same way with her father. So I guess that runs in the family. At any rate, when she sees any surf related stuff on the paper, she always give that to me with the page with the article facing me on my desk, which turns out to be a corner of a dining table, and which also makes my wife upset after I have decided claim this small real-estate in our home as my "home office." Then later on that day, her mother in law calls us and leaves a message about the article. So I had no way getting out of not reading this article.
Well, finally I had a chance to read this over a dinner sitting at the bar in HMB Inn last night. So here how I internalized the reading of the story.
The article basically tells a story about Dr. Rennaker's obsession and commitment to surf the Potato Patch, which is a treacherous, hard-to-reach area outside of the Golden Gate, and the number of trials and period of time, like 25 years, before he finally surfs the wave as the first person ever.
It was an interesting story not so much from the standpoint of someone surfing a big wave. Personally that really have not interested me mainly because I really cannot relate that to my current level of surfing, and I also know darn well that I won't even be able to consider doing that. It is really almost like a totally a different kind of a sport, though as we surfers all experience from the people who are not surfers, we all be asked about big wave surfing, and I actually have a difficult time explaining about the types of surfing I do; not much more than overhead, paddling no more than 3-4 minutes in to the ocean and if I rode 30 second that's considered a victory.
But then I have felt that just about every surfer would go through mini or micro version of the same story.
Mine is like surfing a locally known bigger spots on actually a bit bigger day.
When I first started to surf, whenever the wave gets a bit bigger I'd go and watch some experts taking waves at ease. I often wondered how they do it and whether I can try it. Then after a while I actually try it, and either I could not make the outside and come back, completely wasting the whole session. But like Dr. Rennaker says in the article it was not a loss, but I've learned a bit more about how the break works in the place and condition. The experience like pulled in or out by the tide and current is just as real as described in the article.
As I practice several months more and get a bit more confidence, I would go out, and I go out and there would be some other factors that would make me not be able to surf. I was not particularly obsessed with surfing at the spot but I'd always hope that some day I can and I keep trying.
Then eventually I would go out and I would come back catching the wave, which would be the biggest and strongest wave I have personally experienced.
And from that standpoint I was really able to relate personally what he went through to get where he wanted to go, and the fact that he never gave up on it, and kept trying all different ways to get there.
So, I think that every surfer has his or her own Potato Patch.