Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TWIN-FIN

Mekkar traveled to Australia on a reciprocal visit to stay with few friends he met when they previously sojourned to his hometown and stayed at the local youth hostel there. They turned Mekkar onto surfing, during this time, by taking him to watch a live surfing competition involving Mark Richards. The now legendary Richards would soon afterward conquer the world of Pro Surfing. Mekkar stood among the crowd on that Australian beach and pondered how he needed a new activity to pursue. He thought there must be some other physical activity to get away from it all. At the same time, supplant the martial arts disciplines he participated in for years with his brother and best friend.

The tendency is for Mekkar to get bored easily and seek out new challenges. There was a churning for something different, stimulating inside of him. It did not matter if he wanted it or not, it was a part of his inner being. The expression had to get out somehow. Also, he wanted to distance himself from the reason why he left the Asian fighting arts in the first place. The Arctic Warrior decided to move on when his instructors restricted his advancement and told him that he could not test for a black belt in both styles. The sensei’s agreed that Mekkar’s temperament was too violent and a risk to others, if the situation presented itself. Due to his learned proficiency, fighting, and athletic ability, the mentors explained that they did not want to feel responsible for the Native from the North’s possible future actions. They had seen Mekkar go into a seemingly uncontrolled, frenzied mode with a potential to use excessive force in a relative minor encounter. So, Mekkar moved on.    

During the trip in the Land of Plenty, Mekkar started with his buddies by floating on the long rideable waves off the coast that could last as long as fifteen minutes or more. It was a good thing that the waves were not large for him to learn to balance himself properly on the board. The Aussie group was quite surprised that Mekkar was able to move along with the wave as quickly he did. Mekkar convinced himself that he could grasp this and run with it. Soon, the Young Man from the Arctic caught the fever and surf as much as he could, while he was in the Land Down Under.

Even though he was hooked on the sport, he wasn’t very good at it and still wet behind the ears. Mekkar made a decision then that he would have to find a spot nearby back home to continue on and improve. There were enough rough areas, with rapids, in the river near his house to practice. Top notch kayakers use those places on a frequent basis, he reasoned. His friends told him that it was imperative for him to get his own surf boards before he left. Someone in the group brought up that the Aussie-born Richards also did board shaping and modification as a part of his many talents. Mekkar recognized the name from the contest at the beach and had items he sought. He figured, what was he waiting for? The nice weather made a great time for a road trip to go get what he wanted, as soon as possible, two unique boards that expressed his personality.

Unfortunately, the time spent in the Great Southern Continent went by much too quickly and the fun had to end. By the time Mekkar was ready to leave from this journey, he did possess two custom painted Mark Richards (MR) Twin-fin surfboards made especially for him. They were blue, yellow, and white colored emblazoned with the MR logo in black. Mekkar would take his new possessions on the long flight back home with him and it was a costly venture. Those items, later on, would receive a lot more travel time to other far away locales.

Eventually, the native of the north used those MR sticks extensively to improve his skills on the water during his days as a foreign exchange student in San Diego. Surfing became to Mekkar a type if release similar to other sports related activities which he had done before. He saw it as a relationship in regard to a person’s connection of yourself, your board, and the ocean environment. Mekkar remembered his interactions with Aslak when he was younger and took on a spiritual significance in a way. Even though he was dissed by a few of the much more highly skilled surfers as being below par, Mekkar gained a greater appreciation for the sport. He realized how easy it could become a lifestyle. Especially, if he stuck with it for a great length of time. Mekkar was aware that the true surfers are a very different breed than all of the other souls that invade the beach. The key for the Arctic teenager was could he somewhat tap into that mindset.

School itself bored Mekkar to death. Mekkar had learned a great many things during the education process instituted by his various hockey programs. There were long bus rides with extensive reading, paper writing, and homework assignments to keep the players engaged. A couple of the team trainers were always tutors and seemed to be always present for any questions. Mekkar sometimes felt as though he could never get away from them. The result was high school seemed fairly easy to him He felt that he was being loaded with plain busywork to keep occupied. The classroom setting was tedious in his mind. Teachers noticed Mekkar was inclined to daydream often or at least have his mind somewhere else. It was obvious to many around him. The Arctic Adventurer was not used to this type of setting. He never was involved in a formal school environment previous to this program. The learning environment he grew up with was unconventional and adapted to his pursuit of a future professional athletic career.

There was still the incessant desire to learn and undertake new things. Mekkar was still a teen at this point and had not adopted the concept of Older People’s Syndrome as he termed it, yet. His viewpoint was awakened by observing people throughout his life and interaction with wiser individuals back home in the native culture which shaped Mekkar’s particular theory. The terminology reflected a conviction that Mekkar believed about people in general. His idea was that younger people are more open to new adventures and experiences. However, that begins to change at various rates when a person reaches about thirty-five to forty years old. Mekkar admits that his application does not apply to everyone as each person is different, but is a generally applied principle. Anyway, the older person becomes set in their own ways and habits. Thus, much more than a teenager, eventually develops into a state which is more resistant to great changes in any area of their life. Reasons are that one gets to a place of relative comfort, can predict certain circumstances and outcomes, increasing dislike of uncertainty, and flat-out stubbornness levels increase exponentially. Experiencing the syndrome was still a long way off for the restless Northerner.

Mekkar normally would take his usual route to get to his favorite spot to hit the waves. His modified silver beach cruiser bike had a contraption welded to it on the ride side by a friend. It was setup with metal bars extended with a basket in the bottom to carry a bag with his wetsuit and other needed supplies. Mekkar would place his surfboard flat on the top of the rack and fastened it with bungee cords. His stick was secure and was not going anywhere. Plus, the side carriage as he referred to it had wheels at the bottom that rolled along the ground with the bike. It took some time to put it altogether to make it handy, even though it was odd to look at. Once in awhile the native from the north would get struck with a fondness to mix things up once in a while. Just to break up the monotony and boredom.

On one occasion, he decided to ride along a very different path to another beach, after checking the weather report to make sure it was worth the trip. In the water at this new location he looked down and noticed alongside his surfboard little creatures. They moved too quickly to be seaweed. Mekkar called them sand or beach sharks and knew they were much too small to be any danger to the people in the water. Usually they swam away when he would get too close. Only the braver ones might bump into his board with a thump sound or his leg unintentionally. Mekkar never saw larger sharks during his time in the water like they have in recent years. He quipped, “I guess, I could never have been mistaken for a seal as people are typically seen by the larger predator sharks.” He had a blast that day and started back home at dusk. As Mekkar was passing a school, he noticed a film crew was shooting a scene in the parking area near one of the buildings. There were a lot of props, cameras, and people in that crowded space. It reminded him of the environment he was exposed to when his mama would take him on her modeling shoots. Later, when he watched the well-known movie with his buddies at the theatre, he recognized what he had seen on the school grounds that day. However at the time, Mekkar was focused on riding back home. It was a two-pronged race for his safety against both the sun’s descent below the horizon and heavier evening vehicle traffic. He asked himself the question that if drivers have trouble seeing other cars, then how much easier can it be for them to miss seeing him? He did not have any desire to become an accident statistic.     

When the young man was not occupied with school, related sports activities, and work he would make time to enjoy some waves. He received more than his share of beach time because of his penchant of being bored in class. Many times the teacher would present material that he had already learned back home in the continuous study sessions when not playing sports. Sometimes, he would act out in a ridiculous manner with an intention to be sent directly to the front office. It was not an exhibition of negative behavior for attention’s sake, there was an agenda on his part. The school administrator asked the Arctic Warrior why he couldn’t behave in a manner identical to other foreign students. Mekkar always had a comeback statement to the authority figure. He had a disposition that seem to automatic challenge or oppose those in charge. The teenager was quite creative in his defense with comments such as, “I am the valedictorian. So, give me a hassle when I receive a B grade from a class.” The result was various suspensions for mouthing off to the school’s Vice Principal. Yet, he would flatly reply with the challenge, “Do it and you will add to my surfing time.” Mekkar’s bluff was repeatedly called and was he happy about that since he was not fond of the boring academic classroom atmosphere. Mekkar preferred the extra curricular activities anyway.

Most likely due to his athletic and fighting background, Mekkar carried the same attitude everywhere he went. It was natural for him not to be afraid of others in the sports arena, football field, or the beach. The Arctic young man grew up in an area where there were large bears and other wild animals. To him, people in comparison are no contest and not more intimidating. Mekkar also had experience going toe-to-toe fisticuffs, on skates, with opponents much larger than him in hockey rinks all around the globe.

The brazen teen never got as proficient as he would have liked at the newly found water sport. His effort was always there to improve and ensure the fun and freedom aspect of the activity. Unfortunately, Mekkar lost one of his prized sticks when it was broken while dancing among the rocks after being swept by the strong current. It was a particularly bad day for him on that occasion and he should probably have stayed onshore until conditions were better. In the end, Mekkar’s athletic competitive spirit got the best of him and he paid the price. The Northern Native should have remembered advice he received from Aslak on the trek long ago. Lessons, whether he wanted to accept it or not, that taught him regarding the different skills needed for different environments. Being tough and able on land and ice did not translate the same in water elements; other abilities are needed to adapt in a different setting. This should have been completely installed into him long ago that nature is no respecter of persons. Maybe, he had forgotten part of this concept due to always being away from the village and his native culture? Was the modern world outlook changing Mekkar’s perspective and viewpoints? Even, the Arctic teen was unable to arrive at those answers.        

His best day in the water was the one time when he was inside a barrel-roll as he called it and made it most of the way through before wiping out at the end. The inside of the tube could have looked like one of those surfing pictures he had previously seen in magazines. Of course, the photos rarely show the surfer getting overwhelmed by the wave at the end, which happened in Mekkar’s case. He always sought to repeat that one feat but never was able to duplicate it. The arctic native did steadily continue to improve his surfing ability, but he was not as competent at it as he thought he was. It didn’t help that Mekkar’s young cockiness and ultra competitive nature contributed to the overestimation of his actual abilities in the surf.

A couple of years later Mekkar received a true test of his water capabilities when he visited some friends in Hawaii. Mekkar had heard about and read about surfing in the Islands. He did his diligent research and could identify on the map where the major sunbather beaches were located and wanted to avoid those. When Mekkar landed, he wanted to try his hand where some his friends hit the waves. Mekkar got the itch to take one ride at The Banzai Beach Pipeline on the Oahu North Shore [wikipedia.com]. He was aware of the Shore’s past history regarding how the Pipeline had taken the lives of pro surfers much better than him. Yet, he felt as though he must attempt one wave, at least one time or the trip would be a disappointment for him. The waves that day were larger than normal and his friends that lived in the area were used to surfing there, but he was not. In Mekkar’s mind, they were still a great deal more imposing than the California coast where he had been. His friends, and some others on the shore, warned him that he was not ready for this and attempted to keep him away from possible danger. They were also aware of the landscape which Mekkar was not. Nevertheless, Mekkar is very stubborn when he wants to be and was not to be denied. The Arctic Native began to psych himself out into what he called a Water Warrior mode, similar to a Lion Tamer before getting into the cage with the animals. He next took his board and ran off diving into the water with a lack of fear in his eyes. He rode his board out toward the waves. It was customary for local master surfers to discourage the inexperienced from injuring themselves in the water. Intentionally, it seemed Mekkar chose to ignore all signals from everyone else. He felt that his friends didn’t pay attention to his true prowess and ability, even though they had done this here for quite awhile.

This turned out to be a big mistake on Mekkar’s part. Mekkar had a false confidence in his abilities in the water and grossly miscalculated them in this instance. Plus, he only said that he had been surfing for two years now. A time experience indicator, like an aircraft pilot, is applicable in the number of hours spent in the actual activity. The two year period didn’t point how frequently or not he had the chance to participate in surfing with all the other distractions in his life. When his turn in the lineup came, he attacked that wave and caught it. The whoosh sound of the water around him lulled him into a temporary and imaginary assurance. He was mesmerized by the sound of rushing water. Yet, it was short-lived. Suddenly, Mekkar was crushed by the full force of the wave and received a good hammering by the sheer mass of the ocean that enveloped him. He thought to himself, I have to get to the surface as quickly as I can to get air. At the same time, the thoughts raced in his mind as he started to question whether his time had finally run out. Maybe, the last of his nine lives was about to be unexpectedly snuffed out. Too bad it wasn’t on his own terms. The rapidly crashing wave seemed to continue on forever and was kicking his rear-end. Mekkar reflected on the previous lives extinguished and hoped that he wouldn’t be next. The truth and danger was being delivered with full force right at that moment. He realized that he had no control over the situation and was at the mercy of the ocean. He felt like he was a rag doll and was in a blender to be shaken and stirred. Then, it was over and calm set in. Mekkar wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead until he appeared in the shallow water coughing up remaining water from his lungs.

The battering Mekkar took cut him up on the reef below and the foot leash had snapped. His separated board broke up. Later on, a remaining few pieces washed ashore. Some of the other local surfers rushed to rescue him from his potential calamity. They pointed out to him, later on, that a large chunk including one of fins almost hit him in the head. That might have sliced through and killed him for sure. Other people there, as well as his buddies, warned him that he was wacked for paddling out that day in the first place. Mekkar nearly paid with his life. The ocean taught him a lesson and had treated him harshly. He was ticked off, but was too exhausted to come back for another round to due battle. If the Arctic Warrior wanted to try again no one was willing to give or even rent him another surfboard. With his last own remaining board destroyed and feeling humiliated that was the last time Mekkar took his chances to test out the waves.