September 20, 2012
After several days of observing him, I decided that it is difficult to place Dwayne (and I am a trained psychologist who specializes in personality profiling). Maybe I just am biased because I expected him to be someone else – like most of the surfer dudes I met.
I have known surfers and skimmers by heart, I have drank with many of them, I have slept with a few. Most of them are game for anything. For most of them – at least those I slept with – wave riding is not a game; it is a philosophy, a way of life. The adrenaline that pumps the body at the sight of a good break literally can cause a high. The sound of the waves approaching connects to the heartbeat.
More than anything, skim boarding – like its parent surfing – is man trying to enjoy nature at its worst. Most people who go to the beach pray for a calm sea (as most sea travelers do). Skimmers pray for the opposite – they ask that the sea will be wild every day.
And that is the wildness that shapes the spirit of the surfer. I used to look at them as anarchists – people who refuse to obey the rules; men who defy tradition – and their parents’ wishes – in order to pursue what makes them happy. That is why most of the skimmers and surfers I met along the way are school dropouts with no permanent jobs; or permanent relationships.
They jump from one love affair or sexual partner to another almost as fast as they ride the wave. I used to sleep with a surfer from La Union named Kyle. He was a bisexual – he had sex every night with men or women, it didn’t matter to him. There was something he told me – after a passionate night at the beach which almost broke my neck because he was going gymnastics – that I will never forget: “I will never get married; I am committed to the waves.”
But Dwayne was different. For one, he is a college graduate – Nursing – and is waiting for the result of his board exams. For another, he is a Baptist. I knew that because I asked my friend Ersal. He said the Dwayne’s family owns the land where the Baptist church is located.
“His grandfather, the old man Lago, used to be the caretaker of this land where you live now. He in fact planted the Nipa palms at the back,” Ersal said.
A surfer who prays. Wow. Different.
And again, I was reminded of Kyle:
“I don’t go to masses or services, surfing is my religion, riding the wave is my prayer.”
I was already tempted to introduce myself to him. I saw again today. He was limping. I think he had suffered an injury the day before. He was inside the compound of the Maandig’s, who owns the store where I get my daily supply of Red Horse and peanuts. I am not so sure, but when I arrived, he came out of the gate and smiled again.
And I resigned myself to the fact that at this point, that is all that will happen between Dwayne and I – just a series of wordless smiles plus the twinkling of the eyes.
But then again, this is not a love story.