The fine line between pain and paradise…
About 2 years ago a friend told me about a girl whose plan was it to surf every single day for one year. Shortly after that, I met her in the water. I met Morgan in the midst of her daily surf in the waves of Hermosa Beach in California. I bet that sounds like a dream come true for you.
Thats what I thought too when i first heard about it. I was so jealous of the chance to be able to surf every single day, but then I thought about it again. I thought if the ability to surf every day is really a reason I could become jealous. Jealousy is usually not something that happens to me in my life, because I have a clear understanding that I am responsible for my life and I’m responsible what I do. Also, I really have veneration for Morgan’s willpower.
Yes, Morgan lives in California. To live in such an amazing part of the world that rarely gets cold probably made it easier. Easier is such a subjective term though, and it still makes it sound like accomplishing that is exactly like every Surfers dream. If i think about how much pain I already felt when I had a reef cut, a fin slice, or when my muscles were super sore from too much surfing, you would have to imagine that some days your body would feel like it needs to rest. Morgan, despite the inevitable injury and illness, kept her objective in focus, and she was able to commit to one year full with surfing.
I needed to hear from Morgan in an interview to learn how she really felt during that year:
When did you start surfing?
„I started surfing when I was 5 years old.“
How did that idea pop up in your mind that you want to spend a whole year surfing everyday?
„The genesis of that idea is part of a much longer story. I’ll try and tighten it up as best I can.
When I was younger I was obsessed with surfing, the beach, and water in general. My mom fed me dinner in the tub because I loved splashing around so much. I met someone when I was 18 and subsequently married young – when I was 21. To put it short, that person ended up not being right for me. During those years and years during marriage, surfing fell completely out of my life. I ended my marriage in May 2015, and soon after got back in the water and was so immediately elated and enthusiastic with surfing that I made the decision to surf for a year in a row – to make up for lost time.“
What was your highlight during that year? I mean which moment will you never ever forget during that year?
„There were so many, it’s hard to nail down one. Generally speaking - overcoming obstacles and persevering through wind and El Nino and stormy surf, putting pieces of myself back together and creating a new independent life, and gaining the surf family that is so dear to me now. The friends that I met through this journey mean everything to me.
One specific day however, would be the last day – day 366 (it was a leap year). I was so overcome with joy and emotion and having all of my friends surfing in the morning with me, and then reconvening at a party at Becker Surfboards was just so special. It was the best day of my life. Frank Paine and my shaper Jose Barahona, along with Mangiagli glassing and Michael Cruz worked together to make a surprise surfboard containing a screen print of all of Frank Paine’s drawings – daily doodles he made keeping track of each passing day, that were drawn on napkins and placed in the window at Brothers Burritos every day. It is and will forever be my most prized possession.“
With what pain did you deal the most? Except the pain your body felt, were there also some struggles in your mind?
„There was the challenge of it being El Nino, which produced the most consistent and largest surf in a very long time – and that made me constantly nervous, very rusty and riding a 9’6 longboard. Figuring out how to navigate that was difficult.
There was also a lot of anxiety with work, and dealing with the wind and big waves and being nervous about the conditions and if I’d be able to surf and make it to work on time. Being sore all the time and waking up early took some getting used to as well!“
And was there any day you thought about not paddling out? I can still remember when i met you, and you were hurt. You were only able to paddle with one arm! Instead of just catching one wave and leaving the water, you surfed a lot of waves. You would stay as long as i stayed. How were you able to overcome that?
„That was definitely the hardest month of my life. 6 weeks before completing my year, on a seemingly innocuous day, I caught a few waves and paddled back out to have a wave rip my board out of my hands and I dislocated my shoulder and separated my AC joint badly. OMG talk about pain – for the first few weeks it was difficult to walk down the street and my awesome momma was regularly coming over to help me do basic life stuff – dishes, laundry, the works.
A lot of people told me to stop and I thought about it. But I was so close and getting to that goal was everything to me, and about way more than just surfing. So I was very lucky that friends and family showed up to my door and helped push me into waves for a while. About a week before my year mark I was able to paddle with both arms.“
Where do you usually paddle out?
„My home break is at the Hermosa Beach pier in Southern California. I also love Doheny, San O, pretty much anywhere in North County San Diego, and of course First Point Malibu.“
What’s your favorite surf spot?
„By no means is it a great, uncrowded wave, but I have so many good memories here – Doheny State beach. But also, nothing beats a good day at home.“
I saw that you went on a surf trip to Central America during that year. Was it hard to find time to go surfing on the days you were traveling?
„In the first year of surfing every day I actually visited 3 different countries – Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua - and Lake Michigan. I had to be very mindful of flights, utilizing red – eyes for out of country travel. Thankfully for the Central America trips there were no delays or travel snafus.
In Chicago, I was able to find something to surf for the first two of my three day trip. The last day I wasn’t able to get a wave at all, and the person I was dating at the time suggested I stand up on the kayak we were paddling through the river and that that would be good enough.
That night I flew home and didn’t feel good about it, so my dad picked me up from the airport and raced me home, and I was able to get in the water at 11:40 pm. That was definitely the closest I came to not being able to surf.“
Thank you for sharing your adventure Morgan!