Surf lesson #5 today. I've had kind of a rough week, just kind of struggling with my self-confidence. I thought some time in the water would be the perfect medicine to bring myself back to myself.
It was a pretty good day. The forecast was for 80° and sunny; I got 57° and dark clouds. Weird. Jules said the weather and water felt like autumn and that I'd get used to it. I didn't really mind it - much less people at the beach and in the water. The hard core kids were out there, maybe 6 or 8 surfers, but the experienced peeps are always further out than I am. There were also a few kooks (none as kooky as me) and that inspires me. I like to see other people wipe out and get back on their boards.
I wore split-toe booties for the first time today and totally didn't like them. How distracting. (I'm getting kind of anxious to get booties and gloves of my own, so we'll see how long I can delay that gratification.) I had another Boz wetsuit, same size as the other, but this black/grey one felt kind of restrictive in the arms versus the black/blue one. (I know that no one is dying for these kinds of details. That part is for me.) They're always long in the torso, but I think that's just going to be my story until I can go down a size or yoga finally stretches me 6" taller.
As usual, it felt great to be in the water. My endurance has really improved, I can tell. I can also tell that my upper-body strength has improved skoshi, which I'm grateful for. (The thing I remember most about my first lesson is that my arms crapped out about five minutes into it with two hours and 55 minutes left to go.) The water was pretty mushy, but I have so little to compare it to and I'm so happy to be out there that I'm not about to be snobby about the conditions. Jules said they had to cancel lessons yesterday because the waves were over 12'. Holy hell, I'm glad I didn't see those waves. Today they started out at about 3' and were well over 5' by the time we finished.
We saw a jelly fish again today. I'd like the creatures of the sea to kindly give me a little more space in the future. I humbly acknowledge that I am in their home, but creatures that swim, crawl, fly, or slither creep me out bad. I am trying to grow in this area.
Technically, I'm struggling in small ways. I don't really know whether to push up by gripping the rails or from the deck. I know I'm supposed to grip the rails, but when the waves are small, any resistance at all slows me down, so I don't want to put my hands in contact with the water. Am I forming a bad habit? Any worse than my other bad habits?
And then there's the pop up. Jules has changed my move so I'm having to relearn a little, but I think it's going to be good. I like the new move a little better if I can just get my body to remember it. I've heard folks say that they never teach people to pop up on their knees because they get stuck. Well, I'm stuck on my knees. I am. It's super frustrating. Near the end of the session I was getting the bigger waves. Some of those really packed a punch - much more powerful than anything I've surfed. I loved the feeling of having so much time and so much energy propelling me - those rides were so long I had time to think about the meaning of life, look around on the shore, and get mad about my toes being separated. Jules suggested that I use that time to actually stand up on the board.
I don't know if it's mental or what. Actually, I'm pretty sure it is. I was riding too far back, so when I get on my knees, the nose of the board tips up and it puts the brakes on. Now she has me scooting up a bit, and I can feel the difference. I don't know if I'm afraid to wipe out? I don't think so. I've had some pretty hard crashes so far (my left knee today) and I know it just happens and you deal with it. (Although I do get kind of nervous when I've ridden all the way in and I'm going to wipe out in really shallow water. I just don't want to do anything that would keep me from being able to go back out. And that pearl last week did kind of freak me out. Hmmm.) I don't know. Jules had me do my move on the board on the sand today several times so she could see where I end up on the board when I'm on my feet. When I'm riding, I'm always ending up off balance and falling to the left, so I'm clearly ending up on the left side of the board when I go to stand. There's just something about catching the wave - I feel the energy change beneath me - and I start my move. The board feels stable enough to carry me on my knees, but not stable enough to carry me on my feet. Frick. I'm getting pretty frustrated with myself. Jules says I'll do it when I'm ready and my body trusts the board.
I love coming to the water before the lesson when I'm bringing my board down to the beach and Jules and I are doing our beach talk. It's such a clear feeling that the ocean is alive and I'm just coming to it asking if I can ride it for a while. Near the end of the lesson right before the waves got aggressive, the surface got totally calm and there wasn't a wave in sight. This after having waves 7 or 8 seconds apart all day. It was eerie. I looked at Jules and she said, "It's thinking." I knew it.