Surfing: A Solitary Sport That Builds a Rich Community | #bumble | #tinder | #pof | #onlinedating


Dax: Sorry, Gayle.

Gayle: He gets a girlfriend after, I don’t know, how many years have we known each other?

Dax: Probably three years.

Gayle: I was thrilled. But then they moved to Kailua. That’s been hard, not being able to just say, “Hey, you ready?”

Dax: With traffic, it’s about 30, 45 minutes. I definitely miss a lot of my old community, and Gayle for sure.

Gayle: When he left, it was a kind of heartbreak. But I was so happy that he had found a wonderful, wonderful girl. But oh my God. How many months of online dating was that?

Dax: Maybe two and a half years.

Gayle: He says, “It was like a full-time job.” I mean, he had one girl for lunch and another one for coffee. It was just crazy, right?

Dax: I had no idea how much time or energy dating took. When moving back to Hawaii after the divorce, I didn’t feel ready for it. The last time that I was single, the Twin Towers were still standing. But I learned so much about myself and met a lot of incredible people. And then the culmination with my girlfriend, Cat. She checks off boxes I didn’t even know I had.

Beck: Have you guys been sounding boards for each other with dating?

Dax: Gayle has been separated for six, seven years.

Gayle: Officially divorced for two, maybe three—I can’t remember.

Dax: Gayle was a mainstay for me. I’d have the date, and the next day I’d jump in the water and tell her all about it. She was constantly giving me feedback and support.

She asked me to help set up her own dating profile. She had never done online dating before.

Gayle: Well, we’d fill in the whole thing, we’d select the photo, and he’d say, “Okay, let’s submit.” And my finger wouldn’t know how to. To this day, I haven’t pressed the button. My sons are in their 40s, and I have four grandchildren, and I have surfing, neighbors, and friends. I, maybe, am too content to work hard for something more. What is it you told me? That I can have it all.

A middle aged man in a Hawaiian shirt sits across the table from an older woman wearing a sundress. They're smiling and leaning toward each other. There are potted plants in the background.
Courtesy of Dax Garcia

Dax: You’ve got such an incredible life, and you just want somebody to share it with on terms that work for you. And that’s out there.

Gayle’s got this wonderful family and this incredible home. To go into Gayle’s home is to be surrounded by shells that she’s collected on her travels. She’s always planning her next big trip. Gayle’s an artist; she does embroidery. She’s got these adorable little tapestries. She’s stitched for me; she stitches for our friends. These are artifacts of just a life that is so well lived. She’s got this wonderful community of friends, she’s active … It’s inspiring. I tell my friends about Gayle, and they say, “I want to live that life,” and they’re not talking about being retired.

Gayle: This is not to take away from his relationship with Cat, which I just think is wonderful for him, and for me to see. But once, long ago, I said to him, “God, Dax, I wish you were 30 or 40 years older.” And he said to me, “No, I wish you were 30 or 40 years younger.”

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