One of your legs: a good 30 bones, a whole load of muscles, hinge joints and plane joints and ball-and-socket joints.
Tendons, ligaments, nerves. All that nasty blood.
A massive, overly complex system that some people spend a lot of years in fancy schools with old courtyards and stone spires and Latin mottos just trying to figure out while you and I rely on it to keep our arses off the pub floor after we’ve gone all wobbly from lager number trois.
But take a moment, please, to stop fidgeting with them for a moment and consider the art you’ve created with those restless pieces of meat beneath you. Even the less balanced among us have experienced it. Every time you pop up on a board, that’s for sure. The flexing here and the relaxing there and the bending everywhere that begins as a wave lines up and you just know what to do.
It’s rare you push yourself up while thinking about it. You can thank that back bit of your brain for telling its 80-something billion neurons to have a chat with your seven trillion nerves and not bother you about it so you can focus on important things, like, yelling at the guy trying to jump the shoulder in front of you, for that. Then it’s up to your right (or maybe left) leg to do that magic with the acetabulofemoral joint and the tibiotalar joint and that compound joint resting in-between the two to get your back foot pressed above the fins and its connecting knee to hover above the wax while the calf and shin stay just parallel to fiberglass. And it’s not like the front leg is exempt from any work while all this is going on. No, no no no, no. It has to worry about bending its own knee and drawing that inward and also pushing the hips forward and down all while balancing out the weight so you can drive speed forward and keep your board from shooting upward and taking out your front teeth. “Fucking hell,” your brain’s telling itself. “All this for a bottom turn.” Drop-in, tune out this absolutely is not.
You’re only down at the locale but kink that back knee after popping up and in that moment you’re Craig, Steph, or Mikey February and not just another wounded seagull flailing about in a three-foot-and-onshore beach break. It’s the set up for everything else. As necessary as duck-diving and paddling.
Now, you’re probably thinking: How is this relevant to me? Is this even relevant to me? And the answer is: of course it is, you clicked over to a surf and skate and art publication and you’re reading this now, so you’ve done a bottom turn. But also: seems like we’re in a bottom-turn moment right now, you know, as a world. Sure, the beaches are closed and we can’t go outside and things are rather frightening at the moment. Everything and nothing happening all at once, that sort of thing. But we’ll get out of it. We just need a big coordinated effort to make it happen. And like all those bones and muscles and tendons in your legs every drop-in, we’ll work together to get it done. And if we look good while doing it? Well, that’s just an added bonus now, isn’t it.