I have recently moved to Brighton and while it’s a novelty I’ve been taking my cup of tea (and occasionally my swimming stuff) to the beach, yes occasionally to swim, but mostly to watch the waves. Okay – to watch people.
A guy rocked up at the beginning of last week with a windsurf board on wheels. He unhooked it, dragged it down to the water’s edge and went back for the sail. He climbed into his wetsuit and adjusted the braces. He fixed the sail to the board and pulled it a few feet into the sea. Waist high in the water he climbed onto the board and eventually dragged the sail up. The physics of the situation were always going to be complicated; the direction and strength of the wind, the depth of the water, the height and speed of the waves, quite a lot to calibrate one way and another.
He hauled the sail up but very soon he was in the water again, the sail submerged, back to square one. He tried again and the same thing happened. And again. I assumed this was usual, maybe three or four goes and then he’d be off across the waves.
He tried a fifth, a sixth time. It looked good for a moment before a wave knocked him off. He got up again, had another go. Then he dragged the board further out, climbed onto it again, dragged up the sail, wobbled, tugged it, wobbled a bit more, tugged it again, let go his balance and was back in the water. I lost track of time and attempts, but it was long and there were a lot. The sail was sporty, green and orange, with hero written on it. How ironic.
Everyone was watching and there was a fair bit of commentary, advisory, critical and amused. He pressed on, defeat following defeat and in the end gave up, pulled his unridden board back onto the beach, removed the sail and replaced the equipment back on the wheels. So much for that hobby.
I want to give up on this post; I haven’t written for a while, and every sentence seems clumsy plus my point is neither interesting or original. I can’t remember how to load a photo and this whole exercise is taking way more time than it merits.
Einsten said you never fail until you stop trying. Yep, nice sentiment and all very well for him but trying implies and involves failure and for some of us that’s really hard.
The windsurfer was at the beach the next day. I watched him climb on the board and fall off again. And again. He was there the following afternoon. Still trying. His sail is right. It is heroic to keep going especially when you’ve got all the kit and everyone’s watching. And there’s one thing for certain. Not trying might seem like the easy option, but it guarantees you won’t make it and in the end that hurts more.