Saturday, May 24, 2014

Birding and Surfing

Birding, or bird-watching as it's called by those of us who don't do it, has long been the hobby I've decided to take up once I get a little older. Why? Birders travel the world, spending loads of quiet time alone outside. All those things appeal to me: solitude, silence, and globe trotting. Sign me up... 30 years in advance of when I intend to start.

Yesterday, I went surfing for the first time. Sixty-two year-old Kahuna Bob took me and one other surf student into the waves at Encinitas Leucadia beach. Bob still surfs and hour and a half at a time a few days a week. After taking a nasty tumble a few years ago, he said, he now sticks to the gentler waves and still manages to get his kicks.

Walking along the same beach this morning, I took notice of how many surfers had gray hair. Some of them had been out there since 5:30 a.m. The water this morning was glassy until a wave broke. The surfers sat out there, saddle-sitting on their boards, waiting to spin in the water when their next wave finally arrived.

It got me thinking. Maybe surfing is just as appealing a post-60 hobby to take up as birding. Surfers can start early in the morning (I've always been a morning person). They can mitigate the risks they take.  They get to spend their free time in the ocean (I love swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and every other water activity I've ever tried.) They necessarily can't sit in the water close enough to each other to talk, so there's plenty of solitude and silence.

The way I see it, I have about 25 years to learn so that I can enjoy this theoretical older-age hobby when the time comes.