Sunset Soul Surfers is a “feel good” series capturing some of my most memorable sessions set during the golden hour when the endless ocean horizon swallows the sun and the sky is God’s canvas. When we wait and watch the waves curl towards the shore. We select the ones we will dance across, the ones we will share, and the ones we let pass, all the while witnessing God’s artistic genius unravel across the ever-changing backdrop.
“Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour, remembering that there will also be many dark days.” – Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 (Message Bible)
My life in Florida goes fast, as I filled my hours with work. The lack of quality waves motivated me to spend as many as 70 hours a week between three jobs. Money earned equals waves to ride and a ticket to fresh worlds to see. So I went to work on a Saturday night in December, but a cold front sent a chilly draft through an outside section of the restaurant and sent me and another server home and free from work that evening.
Megan was about to close up the surf school that I passed on my way home, so I decided to stop by. I intercepted Bailey, Patrick, and Kit, other fellow instructors who were returning from the boardwalk to report fun-looking lines on the surface of the Atlantic.
Spontaneous and free, two elements of surfing I adore, we all made the consecutive decision to paddle out for a sunset surf. None of us had our own surfboards, and I didn’t even have a swimsuit or my wetsuit. The surf school offered plenty of foam longboards that we used for surf lessons. And I didn’t let the fact that I didn’t have a swimsuit or wetsuit hold me back and changed into one of the surf school’s wetsuits.
The offshore wind groomed the waves into clean, long walls that we liberally rode solo and together. Rainbow spray and hoots and hollers from friends on foamies filled the salty air as the sun sank. Together we improvised in pure, soul surfer fashion as the surprise surf celebration ensued until the darkness made the waves fade from our vision.
It is interesting how when I have high expectations for the surf I am easily let down, but when I don’t expect anything, I am more than satisfied. Surprise sessions like this are my most enjoyed because I wasn’t even expecting to get wet. I didn’t spend the prior week anticipating the flawless waves forecasted by the surf report or even a thought. The session we dropped into was like one of those ‘just because’ gifts. My life in Florida goes fast, but I don’t mind slowing down the time and trading money for waves and memories like this. Life after all, is about living and breathing in the beauty of the present.