Mid Life Crisis
I'm 39. However, when you read this, I'll be 40. It just sneaked up on me and it doesn't seem possible. Somewhere along the line somebody's played a cruel trick on me and stolen 15 years of my life.
Facts about Thruster
Thruster didn't take up surfing until he was 19, but soon became hooked and was determined to let neither a late start, nor a remarkable dearth of natural talent stand in his way.
Now aged 40 he still sincerely believes it is only a matter of time before he becomes world champion.
Also obsessed with snowboarding, at which he is marginally more impressive (he can stand up), Thruster has been writing surfing and extreme sports articles for 15 years. His next journalistic challenge is to write a good one.
Home Break: Gwithian
Surf Trips: Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Philippines, Fiji, Indonesia, NZ, Hawaii, Australia, South Africa, Canaries, Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland. El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama.
Surfers' Ear Operations: 3 (but needs another)
Would love to live in: Galicia
Board: 6'4" x 18 ¾ rounded pin (and a 7'4" log when really desperate)
Standard: Easily one of the best in his cul-de-sac.
Seriously, there's no way I can be 40. I mean I can still only cook three basic meals, I find words like "toilet" and "plop" really funny and, according to my mum, I still don't blow my nose properly. These are not the usual traits of a 40-year-old man.
Depressingly, my surfing is one of the first parts of me to be showing signs of my decrepit old age. Until just a few months ago, I would always paddle out with deluded optimism about an imminent rapid improvement in my surfing.
Thruster gets a new wig for his Birthday
I've always thought I was on the edge of something special, like breaking through to mediocrity or beyond. It was only ever going to be a matter of time.
In recent weeks though, the sad truth has finally started to sink in. That sad, incredibly depressing truth is this; having surfed for 20 years, just about reaching the standard of "quite poor", I am now not only not improving, but in fact getting noticeably worse!
It's not through any lack of enthusiasm, that's still there, the fact is my body is starting to show its age.
I can't paddle as hard or as long as I used to, I can't take off as well as I used to (my back won't let me) and I can't even hide behind a mop of blond surfy locks to make myself appear like a good surfer because most of my hair now grows out of my nose and ears.
So is that it? It's far to depressing to think that, from this moment on I am actually going to get worse. I'll never do those flowing roundhouse cutbacks I've always thought I'd be doing "next week". I'll never get a decent barrel.
I'll never, ever be any good and with each day that passes, I'm going to get worse and worse. There has to be a way round this, and after a lot of thought, I think I've found it: Swellboarding.
Thruster tries the flapping arm technique
Seriously, it's as simple as that. You can't change your natural ability or your age, so the alternative is to make your sport easier, and let's face it, it doesn't get any easier than those big yellow lumps of foam.
The advantages are extensive: I'll never struggle to catch waves; I'll never mess up a turn (because nobody expects you to turn a swellboard); I'll never come out from a surf gutted because I wasn't tearing it apart (because it's impossible); the waves will never be too small, and I'll never put a hole in my face with the nose of my board.
One of my worst fears about reaching middle-age has been erased. All that's left now is to work on my impotence, my memory and my memory.
last updated: 23/07/2008 at 16:48