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The salty spray with Diamant Rae The salty spray with Diamant Rae.

Diamant Shaw

 

"Just as the crest breaks behind you, you glance back for a moment, catching your breathe full of the warm breeze which casts a light shower of spray against your face, sending sparkles through the air. Eyelashes dripping you continue on your way, refreshed and invigorated in the search for the perfect wave."

 

 

Wandering Around the World Word JettyGirl Surf Travel Feature

By Diamant Shaw

Hello and thanks for reading! My name is Diamant and I am a Cardiff-by-the-Sea native, which if you're not familiar is a small nook of sand and coastal cliffs down in North County San Diego. I've lived here all my life and seeing as how the ocean can draw one to stick around for the waves and never-ending outdoor entertainment, I am likely to live near one forever. I have never ventured very far, only up the California coast hunting for waves, and I do take an annual trek to the mountains for powder runs in the winter, but for the most part I am quite comfortable keeping my bags empty and my surfboard waxed right here. I even decided to go to college in my own backyard, UC San Diego, which encouraged my venturing into new reef terrain at Blacks and WindnSea. At school I have taken a fancy to people related studies, the social sciences and all that jazz that makes you take a second look at who your friends are, how you are communicating, and what makes the world go round. This year I am finally leaving my nest for far-off Spain, where I hope to expand my world and my surfing territory, learn the communication system of the Spanish, as well as become localized in a new culture.

So since I am finally setting out to do something beyond my realm of a 15 minute walking distance to all my familiar sites and friends, I figured I at least had to pick a place where I could surf. Just to be safe. I am planning on making San Sebastian my home away from home…it is a small beach and touristy city on the Northern Basque coast of Spain, otherwise known for its superior surf and close proximity to breaks such as Mundaka and Biarritz. I figure a surf town ought to give me a little bit of a safety net and a place to claim as my base camp for my year of adventures. In a few days I will be setting off for my great migration (that's me and ALL my stuff) and I am looking forward to sharing some of my traveling experiences and memorable glimpses with JettyGirl!

Of course, beyond just the usual travel log about my adventures there are a few things I want to impress upon readers and in my own writing that I think will take my wandering around the world through a true exploration of the written word. As a communications major I am repeatedly impressed and astounded by the power of words in our society and communication systems in general – another reason for my desire to learn Spanish and experience other cultures. The best part of all is that I am constantly surrounded by people searching for ways to express themselves. College provides a sort of palette for searching for those parts of you that need describing, that want to become something or someone. So in order to emphasis my point, I want to give a few examples of how words can impact readers and surfers like you and I.

First, I want you to picture with me a day at the beach: glassy, offshore, perfect size sets rolling in as you start your paddle out. You make your way over the little tumblers until you are almost to the outside, it’s probably a warm Santa-Ana wind keeping your back dry as you glide through the water, eager excitement welling up as you paddle. Then a big roller starts heading your way. You can tell you will probably make it over but you have to time it just right. You paddle harder. You suck in a big breathe as the miniature mountain faces you, the edges beginning to peel overhead, you give it a last few strokes up over the peak. Your heart thumps as you board pops against the back of the wave. Just as the crest breaks behind you, you glance back for a moment, catching your breathe full of the warm breeze which casts a light shower of spray against your face, sending sparkles through the air. Eyelashes dripping you continue on your way, refreshed and invigorated in the search for the perfect wave. Ok, so I’m not going to propose anything lofty. And I will try not to be too metaphorical (although I do love a good metaphor!) But what I mean to do here is incite a sort of word-image relationship, where through the written word you get a glimpse of an experience, a moment in time which you may or may not be able to relate to. And its not just on magazine spreads – we make these kinds of relationships everyday.

Take brand names for instance. One word like Roxy, SoCal, Reef, or Diamond suddenly hold completely new significance from their original meanings. You wear their t-shirt and suddenly you are part of meaning-making process in which the brand helps you identify with yourself and other people who make similar decisions at the nearest Marshalls. I have a good friend who on his Myspace profile identifies himself under the ‘about me’ section by the brands of clothes he likes to wear! So we are deciding what we like, and therefore what we identify with, and reiterating a word and its meaning to others about who we are every time we get dressed. Crazy. People spend a good amount of time dealing with the power of words just in their shopping decisions…why? Because it has to do with how we relate to them, how they describe and capture who we are in a phrase or two.

Within the past few months I have gone to a few concerts. Who doesn't love a place full of people who down-right lOVE the artist or whole genre for that matter, and aren’t afraid to show it? It's an identity thing – I love this music, you love this song, let's get together and enjoy it alongside frankfurters and beer. Have you ever thought about your favorite lyrics and who wrote them and why? You probably love them and identify with them for totally different reasons than the person who wrote them. There is something that captures the human heart when a line says or expresses something that you could never have strung together yourself.

I think the thing about words is that they perfectly capture a moment, a time, a feeling, a thought and they simplify it so others can get the message fast. We put words on our blogs, our facebooks, our letters, even our car windows that somehow say something that we never could have. They communicate to our fellows that we have an identity. They say, "I'm searching for me in this word."

So I figure if I have the opportunity to lay claim to a few words on the published page, I better spray it rather than just say it. Like the spray off the back of a fresh peeling wave, I hope I can cast off some of my experiences onto yours, providing words that are not only refreshing, but perhaps in some way nourishing in your search for the words that best capture you. I look forward to glancing backwards and reflecting on my moments abroad and sharing how my wanders around the world made me wonder about the words. And maybe, I might just send a few pieces of me back to Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Figuring out how to pack my wetsuits,
Diamant

 

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