Friday, July 17, 2009

First Try

By the time I left on my trip I'd lost all confidence and knew I'd need to take a lesson in Hawaii if I planned to surf at all. I'd done some research on surf schools earlier in the week and, as the cabin door of the aircraft was closing for my flight, I called and scheduled a lesson for the following morning. I guess I should mention that in my research I found a surf school where all the instructors are firemen. You heard me, firemen. And I figured, if I'm going to take a private lesson, I might as well take one from a fireman surfer. A surfer who is a fireman. Two of my favorite things all wrapped into one.

The lesson was way out west of Ewa Beach, and I ended up with a really cool guy as my instructor - super cute, very friendly and down to earth. I mean, he was no Jules, but I did ok. I explained my situation to him - that I've had two lessons but am still pretty intimidated and haven't been able to get up yet. 

I don't have a lot of testosterone in my daily life right now so I forget the powerful force that it is. As soon as I said that I hadn't gotten up yet, he latched onto it and said it was his one goal to get me up on the board. And that's kind of where things went wrong. He felt pressure to get me on a wave, I felt pressure to not let him down; it was all this intense performance-based drill. I hated it. I ended up getting both feet on the board, which did feel new and good, but only long enough to take a swan dive off the front end. The waves were pretty big (for me), about 4 or 5', and the lesson was just over an hour, which was too short to get my mojo flowing. This was also my first introduction to reef and I HATED it. Hated. The reef was really bad where we were, patchy and around 3' tall with deep holes, and I cut my foot almost immediately. (I didn't tell him because I didn't want to be a baby.) And that was with reef walkers on! Every time I wiped out, I was certain I was going to face plant into the reef. It sucked. I later told my friend that I think I was the only surfer in Hawaii who wished I was surfing in Oregon. I was glad to get board time and further instruction, but the whole experience wasn't that great. And I decided that it was too stressful dealing with the reef to surf in Hawaii.

Another bummer was that my instructor tried to be really nice and handle my board for me, and that ended up causing a problem. I'm totally capable and comfortable with my board, and kind of pride myself on that. I know how to get it in and out of the water safely and can deal with it around waves and kids and stuff like that. (It's hard to imagine, but those things can be like missiles if they hit the water wrong and get away from you.) Well, at one point my dude was trying to maneuver both his and my board as we went into the water, and a wave caught the nose of my board and it slammed into my head. I called a friend later because I was convinced I was going to have "the thing that killed that actress." It was a little stressful. (I ended up with nothing more than a goose egg and a headache.)

That evening I went to Waikiki Beach to watch the surfers and noticed that no one was wearing reef walkers. What the? I also noticed that the line up cleared out a bit around dinner time, and I decided to come back the next day to rent a board.


  1. ...and...AND?! Don't leave me haning! Did you rent a board and conquer the waves solo?

  2. Im now convinced your blog is fiction. Hawaii? Surfing firemen? Cmon. What kind of tech creative writing class are you taking?

  3. That whole testosterone thing? Yeah, I need to email you a correlation I have with that experience.

    I'm proud of you for trying and can't wait to hear more!