I scheduled a lesson (#7) with another instructor yesterday since Jules was busy. Her name was Julie and I literally could have been her mother. Could have. Mothered her. I generally don't trust anyone under my age (currently 38), but Julie was great and I learned a lot of from her. Even if she did say, while chit-chatting, that she's about to start her final year of college and she feels soooo ooooold now.
I had an awesome time in the water. It was exactly what I needed. I'm heading up to Central Washington for a week tomorrow and really needed to get some good time in the water before going. It turned out to be pretty cool to be with a different instructor just to get another person's perspective and experience a different style. I mean, she's no Jules, but who is? Julie talked with me about tides and waves and the specifics of that beach. She was friendly and fun and generous, and I felt confident with her.
The conditions yesterday were sooooo different than they've been. I felt like I was with children who were monsters for me but behaved perfectly for the sitter. The waves were in actual lines coming in to the shore, and they were spaced perfectly twelve seconds apart. They were a little big for me - I asked Julie, "Four feet?" She said, "No, way bigger." But there was basically no undertow or riptide. This was not the ocean that bitch-slapped me two weeks ago or made me leave with my tail between my legs the day prior.
I talked with Julie about those two rough days and expected her to scold me for going out when I shouldn't have. I was so embarrassed for not being able to handle myself. She surprised me by saying that it was really good I went out those days because I'm going to need to experience all kinds of waves and all kinds of conditions as I surf. That's how I'll learn. And it was really good that I came in when I was tired and knew I couldn't match the water. That made me feel great. It's an awesome feeling to have someone absolve you of shame.
Julie had me choose all my waves or tell her why I wouldn't choose them. That was time-consuming but good. I feel much more confident with that now. She also changed my pop-up move a little, which was kind of frustrating but I'm open to trying anything. I took several waves and did my new left knee/right foot thing, which was fun. Julie said she feels that I'm so close to standing up. She said the next step will be to extend my left leg (I'm goofy) and pivot my hips to the left, so she had me try and I did it twice!
My frustration/embarrassment over not being able to surf solidly on my feet yet is well documented, and I still feel that, but I will say that I can feel myself improving. I do. It feels like a miracle wrapped in a rainbow painted with glitter dripping golden Skittles. There was a chunk of lessons with Jules where I just felt so hopeless. I imagined her smiling and saying goodbye after our lessons and going back to her car to sit and slam her head against her steering wheel. But I can see it - slower than any surfer in history, but it's happening. I'm learning, I'm improving, I'm getting better. And I'm having a complete blast.
About half-way through the session I hopped on my board to take another ride and Julie commented, half to herself, "Man, you are like a feather on that thing." A feather? I am like a feather? Did she just say I was like a feather? Maybe she meant elephant. I forget how she explained it because I kept thinking "OMG I'm a feather! Julie said I was a feather!" but it was something along the lines of being graceful and really hopping up and landing gently in just the right position on my board. Shall we all take a moment to remember how I couldn't lay on my board without flipping over just a mere two months ago? Or how I would hop up to get on it and slide right off the other side? And now I am a feather.
I did notice a definite decline in my endurance yesterday. Since my bad session I've been pouting and haven't run or worked out in any way for two weeks. Take that, ocean! I've had a steady diet of Captain Crunch cereal and root beer ice cream (not together) and I've decided that fitness can just go to hell. Well, let me tell you, that's no way to treat a body you want to float on a board. I guess the little bit of running I was doing was really helping me in the water. Who knew. Exercise improves your health. You heard it here first.
So I had an awesome, awesome day. On one hand, I was bummed to want an instructor with me after having three solo days. I'm pretty much out of money and it's so much cheaper to go alone (especially with my Bro Deal :>). But I need some time with an instructor to get me in the water and rebuild my confidence after my mishap. I can't tell you how pumped I am from yesterday. I can't wait to get back at it and show Jules what I've learned since our last lesson. And to show her that I'm a feather.