Truth along the blue line

The surfer lifestyle? No babes in bikinis, bonfires on the beach—just middle-aged surfers grabbing a few waves before work.


The author’s buddies wait for a few morning waves before heading off to their desks.

Photo: Doug Young


We’re out before you’re awake. Before your morning paper has been delivered, before your coffee machine has clicked on, before the sun has shot through your blinds, we’re in the wet, focused on the horizon like sharpshooters scoping a target. We’re waiting for a wave. We’re looking for truth along the blue line.

This is dawn patrol, our moment, while our families sleep and the heavens are in transition. We’ve got 90 minutes tops before commitments come to call. Meetings, e-mails and kids’ school sports events will all nip at our heels before the day is done. So we come here first to find our truth.

We park at the meters between Fort DeRussy and the Duke’s statue, pop in a few quarters and play cat and mouse with the Cushman cops and their first morning sweep. You won’t see any ’60s Chevys or VW buses with stickers splattered across the back windows. Those young bucks are probably just crawling into bed. Besides, they don’t bother with town unless the buzz is out on a big south swell.

We drive SUVs, minivans and station wagons, with tinted windows so our boards are hidden, safe, snuggled among soccer balls and dried-out cherries, while we tend to our post-surf lives in Oahu’s business world as lawyers, engineers, teachers and managers.

We’ve been getting wet together for a long time. Over the years, we’ve counseled each other on real estate values, airfare deals, school options for our kids, even bouts with cancer. We’ve given up more vices than we can remember, but have found it impossible to give up this one. It’s the only endeavor we have left that is pure and alone. So we paddle out every day before dawn, no matter the forecast. Six-foot glass or two-foot slop, we’re out on our nine-foot, magic carpets of fiberglass and foam, looking for truth along the blue line.

If it’s a big day, we’re stoked: three guys on every wave, dropping in, talking trash and acting like we’re 20 again. If it’s a small day, we’re bobbing up and down on our boards between sets, debating the latest news from CNN or just enjoying the sunrise over Diamond Head. All that matters is that we’re out. We’ll never drop into a triple-overhead monster at Waimea, and we don’t care. We will be here day after day, glass or garbage.

Are we soul surfers? Is someone who paddles out in the rain to ride two-foot junk a soul surfer? How much devotion is needed? Dozens of us are out there every day: not for a contest, or a sponsor, or because the conditions are epic. We’re not stretching the limits of the sport. None of us has an endorsement deal for shoes or sunglasses. We can’t afford to wait for conditions.

We’ll get to your e-mail later. This time is ours, when the heavens are in transition, the world is clear and still and we are free to find our truth along the blue line.

Author’s Note: Jim Bocci is the marketing director for Marine Corps Community Services. He lives in Kahaluu with his wife, Anne, and 2-year-old boy, Jack.