Better than Sex?

Come on, admit it. At some time or another you’ve used that phrase to describe that perfect wave you surfed, where you pulled into a deep barrel and you actually made it out. You had to tell somebody, but you couldn’t find the words to explain the feeling to a non-surfer, so you said it: “It was better than sex!” And then your friend looked at you with pity and an expression on his face that said, “You poor klutz, one day you will learn how to make love properly.” Because people who don’t surf will never understand how good it feels, no matter how hard they try.
But it’s true isn’t it? Sometimes surfing feels better than the four-legged frolic. (A note to virgins: sex is great and remains a wonderful, wholesome, god-given pastime. I don’t want to put you off having sex one day, don’t get me wrong.) It is just that sometimes surfing does in fact trump the horizontal hustle.
Picture this: You have saved yourself for that special person you still have to meet. You don’t know who it will be, but when you meet them, it will be clear that the two of you were made for each other and then one day, when you are both ready and the moment is right, with only the full moon looking on, with Celine Dion crooning in the background and just the right amount of pink bubbly to relax the two of you, you will give yourselves to each other and share the most wonderful, blissful experience. Except that you might think to yourself afterwards, while trying to banish the accompanying feelings of guilt from your mind, “That searing cutback I managed in July 2013, when I hit the whitewater so hard that the spray went higher than the cliffs and I came around and thumped the crap out of the oncoming section, that felt better than this.” Don’t feel bad. It can happen. Surfing is like that, it’s a spoiler. It can make almost anything else feel ordinary.
Of course it is all a matter of degree. Sometimes there is bad sex. Like on those occasions when your partner is not really that into it. Yawning, glancing at her watch or making a shopping list are all good indications that this time is not going to rank as one of your most awesome performances as a Casanova. And of course booze, that other cause of countless crap bonks, can result in impaired judgment and poor selection of partner, with disastrous effects on the libido once you sober up. In cases like these, almost any ride beats sex hands down.
Now good sex, that is hard to beat. You really have to catch a bomb, back-door the section, pull in and stay deep for so long that you start feeling you can’t hold out any longer and then get shot out in a gush of spray, ready for a cutback and then repeat the performance. And we all know that doesn’t happen very often.
Except if you are a top pro. The top performers have amazing, earth shattering tube-rides frequently, because they are that good and because they go on trips to places where the waves are exceptional. The rest of us stay at home, have mediocre surf sessions and thus have great sex, comparatively. I imagine that somebody like Slater must worry a lot while he is lying in bed exhausted, deep in post-coital reflection. He probably wonders why he is so useless in the sack: “Geez, I’ve been away for two weeks, we had a wonderful, passionate reunion and I gave it my all, but it still didn’t feel better than that last ride at Mundaka…” Hey, it’s not you, Slats, it’s the wave’s fault. If you weren’t such a good surfer, you would have felt much more fulfilled on the home front.
But wait, you say. You have to compare the best wave you ever had with the best time you ever had when you parked your Plymouth in the garage of love. And here it is hard to be honest. Do you really want to tell your wife she was beaten by a lukewarm lump of water that lurched over a reef somewhere in the Mentawais one morning? That wave you will never forget?
No way. You’re going to tell her that of course nothing in the world measures up to the moments you two have shared. And anyway, how can you compare surfing with taking old One-eye to the optometrist? It’s like comparing apples with pears.
Nah, surfing isn’t really better than sex. Cross my heart.

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