So, there you are: one of the many, unfortunately landlubbed souls caught between a rock and an icy hard place. Perhaps, you, like many of us, were led here by the prospect of Midwestern hospitality, the lure of variability that seasons offer, or maybe you just wound up in a dusty or cornfilled state by accident. If you’re an ocean lover, your current state of being, especially during the winter months, can be downright disheartening. The ocean—its power, force, and natural majesty—reminds us of how small we are. Being in a landlocked place surrounded by hay fields or concrete blocks reminds us how big we are. I’ve been there (am there, unfortunately) so I’m reaching out into the Internet ether to shake your hand and offer some fellow ex-coastal comfort. Here are my recommendations for coping until you can get your next dose of fresh ocean air:
1) Find a community of fish-minded people. It might not be the same as patting your buddy’s back after he riffs on a wave, but having people to chat about surf culture with away from the surf is important and life giving. When you find a crew of people who understand the shaka as a symbol of good will and aloha instead of “heyyy, bro,” hold onto them. Then, you can all laugh together the next time someone says that they thought all surfers looked like Spicoli rather than, well, you.
2) Find your personal ocean. While not Kelly Slater’s artificial wave, pools can offer some semblance of the life you want to lead. Immerse yourself in the water, dive deep, and pretend you’re recovering from a great ride. Or, like my dad, live near a smaller lake and shred (weather-permitting) with your Stand Up Paddleboard.
3) Don’t let the sharks get you down. When you’re in a landlocked place, people are a little different. They tend to be grumpier and colder, especially if it’s blizzarding outside. Similarly, they can also be ignorant of the beauty they’re missing out on by not living near a large body of water. That being said, the next time one of your friends says how amazing hockey is “because it’s like the players are walking on water” or nature is “beautiful” when a large squirrel skittles past them, don’t punch anyone or anything. Simply, let the hopes of future days spent on sunny shores carry you away from the aggressiveness of landlubbers and into the bliss of an ocean mind.
4) Ride it out. The Inertia’s got you. Sit back with a cool mojito or Jai Alai, throw on some shades, and enjoy video after video while pretending that you’re actually riding session after session. You’ll almost feel like you were there.