Sunset spreads across the sky. The Autumn day has mellowed, and you stand with your feet in the sand, looking out at silver water. Your longboard stands by your side like a sentinel, your shadows stretch towards shore, waiting for contact. You read the water: assess the contours of the waves, how they rise from the body of the ocean, how they curl, how they break. The breeze brings the salt to your lips, it weaves through your hair. You can already feel the pulse of the water beneath you, carrying you, it’s surge lifting you from your belly to your feet. This ritual as familiar as your skin, the call of the ocean as deep as the call of your blood in your veins.
You paddle out, past the breakers, to the back, where you wait for your wave to come for you. You sit astride your longboard, legs dangling in the water, your hands flat in front of you, poised patiently. You look out along the curve of the land. The lushness of the Byron Bay landscape is painted over with the reds and oranges of sunset, the silhouettes of Mt Chincogan and Wollumbin drawing their peaks through the wash of brilliantly coloured clouds like fingers playing in sea foam.
You think of all the faces before yours who sat astride their longboards, looking back at the curve of a bay, taking in the peaks of mountains, volcanoes, the sprawl of hills. Land that has story, history, meaning; the spirit of the water drawing toward it, day after day. This practice: ocean, longboard, body; the defining purpose of cultures and subcultures, stretching back a millenia.