When I first met Dave (not his real name) four years ago, he was a nice well rounded guy who had a seemingly passing interest in a sport known as windsurfing. Much to his mortification, I may even have referred to it as boardsailing. Ouch. How passé of me.
At that time, Dave’s equipment was right out of Bedrock. He had a large, klunky white Tiga that was not unlike Moondoggie’s surfboard, with an isosceles sail to match. He would go down to the bay on lazy summer afternoons in about ten to fifteen knots and skim across the water. Life was pretty simple then. He would often criticize a breed of sailors known as “boardheads” who, according to Dave, talked more than they sailed. He said that for him, windsurfing was nothing more than a healthy physical outlet. Our romance began, and little did I know, it was with the Dr. Jekyll of windsurfing. Here was Dave, a perfectly normal person, about to be transformed into the ravenous Mr. Hyde (a.k.a. Mr. Wynde). Woo-oo-hoo-hoo-aa-ah-ah!!
I can’t be sure when the metamorphosis took place. It is somewhat of a blur now, but I think Dave’s monstrous conversion started not long after the Bic catalogue arrived. He began to covet the ’91 Adagio (some of you may remember it). To me, the gear ignoramus, the Adagio was smaller than the Tiga, pointier, and covered with Dee-light-dee-groovy-Charlie’s Angles-James Bond-graphics. In other words, no big whoop.
He claimed it would go faster, which sounded okay to me. People say the birth of a child changes a couple’s life forever, but what about Adagio? No one ever said that an Adagio in your home will change your life irrevocably. I was perfectly patient while Dave bonded with his new board. Like any new mother, it was his main focus. He still maintained that he wasn’t a “boardhead,” and life attempted to get back to normal. Pretty soon, it was no longer motherhood, but outright infidelity.
I tried to compete.
“I could learn to sail,” I thought. I was open minded. “I could be a woman who shreds!” I declared. There certainly are a lot of women who do. I was up to the challenge.
To abbreviate a long and painful story, Dave gave me two lessons in zero wind on an Astrorock, the newest addition to his brood, with a 6.0m sail that I could barely uphaul. By the time I did, I was so tired that Dave would give me a little break by taking the rig and leaving me waist-deep in water. How fun.
Little by little, consumption took over. Videos trickled into the house. Sails were asexually reproducing in the den, a natural phenomenon I considered contracting Sir David Attenborough about 5.6, 5.7, 6.0, 4.7 – a metric hodge-podge of mylar that wrinkled like loud candy wrappers when, God forbid, anyone would step on them. “Gee, I didn’t know that there is a sail for every type of wind condition.” Duh. Not to mention booms, booms, come-back-to-my-room booms, wetsuits (shorties, full, dry, wet), skegs (Quick! Use “skeg” in a sentence: “Lame! I gacked my skeg!” Very good. Windsurfers feel a need to constantly exclamate.), sail bags, board bags, boards to put in the bags, more boards, masts, mast extensions, camber inducers, booties, footstraps, car racks, fin stashes. All to go faster-higher-waves-jibes- (duck and laydown)- faster-higher-Palm Beach-Chrissy-The Gorge-Maui-winter-summer-spring-fall. Some was never enough. Excuse me while I catch my breath. This passing interest was now a Wind Obsession. (Yes. He had that video too!) The only two things he neglected in his ever-growing collection were sunblock and health insurance.
Finally, the ton of bricks fell on me. I knew Dave was insatiable. When he reached one goal, another more tantalizing one lay just ahead. He was constantly running to the window like an electric bird dog who has just spotted and anemic albatross. His glazed-over eyes followed the movement of the trees. He “oohed” and “aahed,” either in frustration or excitement, depending on whether it was logistically possible for him to go sailing at that particular moment.
Forever after, his days will go like this. First thing in the morning, he’ll dash to the window to check out the wind conditions. After that decisive moment, he’ll venture off to the living room, mumbling about the “gimpy” wind, to oogle over the latest board mags, being sure not to miss the ever important classifieds for the unexpected deal. Then, he’ll get into the car and cruise out to the bay and the beaches to get the real story. Who’s out already? Who’s rigging? What’s optimum? He’ll make that dude-ish, hang loose, extended thumb and pinkie hand signal to every passing vehicle with gear on it or in it. If he isn’t sailing himself (because it fails to be sub-hurricane conditions), he’ll be giving a running commentary on who is. The funny thing is, Dave doesn’t even consider himself to be that good, which I think is a load of bunk. But who asked me? He’ll then sashay over to the local gear pimp, ahem, er, dealer whose eyes will light up with dollar signs when Dave darkens his sticker-covered door. Then, it’ll be home to the video shrine that depicts windsurfing meccas where he’d rather be. Everyone who pays a call will be subjected to them. If you don’t want to see them, don’t come over.
At this point, it is safe to say that Dave is the Grand Pooh-bah of “boardheads.” He doesn’t even bother to deny it anymore. No one, but no one, could sail as much as Dave talks about it. We can’t even watch T.V. or go to the movies like normal people. For instance, during a pivotal moment in The Firm, I sat with baited breath waiting to see what Tom Cruise was going to do next, when Dave leaned over and whispered. “Checkout the movement on those trees!” completely killing the moment. Yeah Dave, just what I was thinking. He’s a hopeless addict. I’m considering starting a support group, Wind-A-Non, for the loved ones of wind junkies. He’s tried to convert everyone: his father, brother, cousin, and a myriad of close friends. I know it’s truly pathetic when from somewhere in the house, I hear the low murmur of the weather radio he loves so much. In my mind’s eye, he’s crouched in the powder room or the broom closet. When he’s that far gone, he tries to hide it. Not that he’s fooling anyone for a second. Especially when he gazes into my waterproof, windless eyes pleading with me. “PUH-leeze tell me those three little words that mean so much to me.” Knowing the correct answer, how can I refuse? This is the “boardhead” I love.
“Small craft advisory,” I tell him. Then in a flash he’s gone, blowing in the wind.