|Photo - Joe Vulgamore|
From the sweatshop that I called work, I would log on to my favorite surf forecast in hopes of seeing the potential for swell on my days off. Each night I would go into the garage and re-pack my surf bag, double and triple checking to make sure all of my gear was in it's handy locations. Hours would be spent on the internet looking at terrain maps and shore contours, trying to decide where the surf might best offer a couple of surf-starved adventurers an uncrowded wave or two.
The entire week would build with anticipation, leaving me feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve. The night prior to the trip I would stuff myself with a healthy dinner, then load the ice chest with beer, water, and sustenance for the coming trek, then fade off to sleep with the sounds of my favorite surf movie in the background.
The next morning I would usually wake just before the alarm to the smell of hot coffee that my wife would set the night before. A quick look out the window would remind me that sunrise was still two hours away.
I would load my truck, checking twice to make sure I had everything, and then off I'd go... anxious to meet with a couple of good friends for a day of waves.
Then, I made a big mistake.
I enjoyed surfing and my lifestyle so much that I thought it would be a great idea to start a business centered on surfing. I never had plans to make a fortune off surfing, but I thought it'd be great to make a living doing what I love. So I parlayed my photography skills and my journalism background into a surf magazine. At the time, Texas had no magazine or surf media, so I thought, "What the hell..."
During the time that I was publishing Texas Gulf Coast Surfing Magazine, going to the beach every day became more of a chore than a luxury. It was great at first. I got to see my friends everyday, shoot photographs of all the sickest local talent. I got to hang out in the surf shops and frequent the contests, and it was fun... for awhile. Unbeknown to me, the surf scene was no longer about the spirit of the ocean, somehow the business took over the stoke. Suddenly, I felt like I was playing hooky if I paddled out to surf. If I wasn't on the pier, or jetty, or the open beach with a camera in my hand, then I was slacking. The biggest problem was that I didn't even notice... all I cared about was getting the next issue out. I had quit taking the time to enjoy what the ocean had to offer.
Economic factors caused me to cease production of Texas Gulf Coast Surfing Magazine. It was heart-breaking, and financially devastating for me on a personal level. So I retreated. I put surfing on the back burner and decided to try to enjoy everything else that the ocean can deliver to us.
Body surfing has become a focal point for me lately... maybe it is because it is pure. I don't really know. But in the past few months since the magazine was shut down, I have found myself longing for the adventure that has eluded me for a long time. It has reminded me that the adventure is half the fun.
So now, I have set out on a personal quest to rediscover my love for the ocean. I now set out to experience as many waves as possible, whether it be on a longboard, boogie board, or feeling the sweet caress of the wave while body surfing.
I set my sights not only on the waves, but also on the adventure.