Today my friend Cera told me to watch a surf documentary called Momentum Generation. The doc highlights a group of surfers who became friends as kids and turned into some of the most famous names in the sport. Cera said seeing Pipeline and home on film made her happy, so although I have no personal investment in surfing, I turned it on. It’s not that I ever hated the sport, but I fall out of the “Hawaii girl” stereotype – I don’t surf, and never learned. I am not a woman of the water. I admire the ocean from afar, and fear her (out of respect!) When I’m home, you can find me at the beach lounging on the sand, only putting myself in the water if there are absolutely no waves. Even though I was not the movie’s target audience, I’m a sucker for a good documentary, and really enjoyed it. You don’t need to be a surfing buff to follow along, and I loved the movie's take on male friendship and masculinity; despite their pasts, the group are now an example of men who can support and feel supported by one another.
Despite the pressure the group were under the men had this calm energy about them. They take it slow and go with the flow. Perhaps that’s something that has to come naturally to someone whose profession is moving with the rhythm of the ocean, finding balance in chaos. New York is a fast-paced place to live and simply existing in it can be stressful sometimes. When I’m home I can look around, take a deep breath and just be happy I’m there. Maybe that comes with being near nature, among life bursting with vibrant greens, yellows, reds and every shade of blue. I miss seeing colors like that. New York hums with bright lights, but everything seems to settle in shades of brown and grey. I can find a rainbow every other day in Hawaii, here I don't think I've seen one once.
Momentum Generation was a much needed breath of fresh air. I am definitely watching surf competitions live online now, no matter where I am on Earth. I hope I make it to the Eddie when I’m home for Christmas. I’ve never been before, but while an hour drive to the North Shore seemed like an eternity in my first eighteen years of life, I now have a greater understanding of what “far” really is. I don’t know where I’ll be after college graduation, but I do know seeing that event in person won’t be nearly as easy once breaks aren't something dictated by a school schedule. One thing I started doing after I went to college was sitting at Diamond Head Lookout with my friends. We place ourselves in a row on a rock wall, our slippers dangling over the edge of the lookout's steep decline, and watch the people surf below. The waves on the South Shore aren’t the beasts of the North Shore, and from so far up above, you just see tiny people on tiny waves, little specks on an eternal ocean.
Jack Johnson was also woven into this story too, because he was a surfer and friend of the group in this documentary. The film closed with his song “Better Together,” and I found myself singing along in the wee hours of the morning. I’ve been listening to a lot of music from home recently, and I think it’s because the temperatures are dropping. Usually the sadder stuff makes me cry, but recently it hasn’t. I think that’s a good thing. Those songs don’t bring up specific memories, just imagery and feelings of home. Ginger plants in my front yard, fluttering in the breeze. The garlic shrimp on the North Shore, where my dad took my brother and I to eat this past summer when we were feeling blue. The steep hill on Kilauea Ave. If it is a clear day, you can see the neighbor islands peeping out on the horizon.
I jotted down a short list of songs from home that are making me happy right now. Here they are, in no particular order (just kidding, Jack Johnson is at the top because he's on my brain.)