There is one scene from a film that astounds me every time I see it. It’s not Tarantino, it’s not Kubrick. It’s from a Mickey Smith bodyboarding DVD, called A Blank Canvas. It’s about a trip to three very different islands in search of waves. In the final chapter, everyone goes home except for the photographer, videographer and one rider, Brenden Newton.
The trio stumble across a wave out in the desert. Newton’s never encountered it before – it’s a shifting, huge, brutal beast of a wave, exploding onto a shallow rock ledge with little chance of escape. For him, though, the challenge is what the trip and his life are about. He paddles out, looks around as the bomb sets erupt near him, then starts taking waves.
He described the session in a magazine article published after the trip. He was terrified of the power of the wave at first, but after he was belted on the first few waves, he achieved a sense of being ‘in the zone’. Even though most waves ended in a wipeout, he was having the time of his life.
It’s a simple story, but it captures so many essences of what I like about life. There’s exploration, discovery, challenge, natural beauty, and the bravery to overcome setbacks and enjoy what’s on offer.