Thursday, September 3, 2009

Surf Lesson #6

I wanted to write a little about my most recent surf lesson so I don't forget all the yummy goodness. I'll back-date it to keep everything in order (they don't call it OCD for nothing), but I want to make sure it have it on the record.

I mean, I don't know how else to break it to you except to just say it: It was the perfect day.

The highlight of the lesson actually happened before I even made it to the beach. As I turned the corner on my way up to the spot, a guy with a board on top of his car passed me. I was talking on the phone giving my mom some reminders on how to sync her iPod (you guys, my mom totally has an iPod Touch. Isn't she cool?), and as I passed this guy he gives me the big thumbs down out his window. I was at once intrigued and perplexed. When I reached the beach I asked Jules, "Was he mad at me for talking on my cell phone, or was he trying to tell me that the waves suck?" She smiled and said, "He was giving you the surf report."

Wow! Crazy. This guy and I totally shared a bond. We had communicated without words. I was in his club or something. I still don't know exactly why it made me so happy, but it was super awesome.

Other highlights from the day:
  • I took three belly rides before Jules said, "Hey, what do you want to do today?" which I think meant, "Are we even trying anymore?" After that, on every ride I made an effort to get on my feet. That meant really pushing myself, and pushing through fears of pearling again. I never really did it for more than three seconds, and never in a position where I could truly balance upright, but I tried to get there on every single ride. And on just about every ride I had two feet (or some version thereof) on the deck. That's great for me.
  • We saw a sea lion! Gosh! The marine life just keeps getting bigger. (Uh ho.) This was crazy. Jules saw him for a while but I couldn't find him. Suddenly I see a big hairy nose pop out of the water! I asked Jules if he was friend or foe, but she said he's just another surfer. (With the caveat, "I wouldn't try to pet him . . . ") I don't know why, maybe because he looked like he donned a wetsuit this morning just to get out in the water, too, but it was an awesome feeling to be hanging with this guy. He messed around in really shallow water for quite some time. We just looked at him from a distance.
  • It was sunny out, but really windy. The waves were total mush, and that was new for me. I learned that mushy waves are unpredictable and difficult to ride - they come on with some power and then, mid-ride, they're completely gone. Or they switch directions. Or they just kind of churn. Real surfers hate them, but guess what? I'll surf anything. I don't care if they're mushy. I am so grateful to have anything, I'll surf the hell out of those waves. I think this is one of the benefits of being a complete rookie.
  • After my lesson Jules left and I stayed again to take some more waves. I spent about 45 minutes trying to do my thing, and then I ran out of energy and took my board up on the beach. Usually at that point I return to my car, return my gear and head home, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I missed the water the second my foot stepped on dry sand. I ended up going back in for about 45 minutes without my board, just me in my wetsuit swimming around and smiling from ear to ear. I'm telling you, I was in love.
  • Before leaving for the day, I stood in the water and watched a more experienced surfer who was in the water way out there. Maybe he was good but not great, or maybe he was just practicing, but he didn't ride any waves in. He was getting up and then making sharp turns right and left, and then wiping out, all way out there in the water, over and over. He looked amazing. Because of the bright sun I could only see his silhouette, and he seemed to be part-ballet dancer, part-dolphin. I was mesmerized. I spent at least 20 minutes just watching his moves. All I can think to describe it is that he was making a carving or slicing motion on top of the waves. It was gorgeous.
So another great, great lesson. So enjoyable. I returned my gear and then, for the first time, stayed in town. The weather was too perfect to leave. I got a couple liters of water, a sandwich and a new book from the bookshop, and went to a bench on the beach. I read for about a half-hour, and then I laid on the bench with my eyes closed, baking in the sun, thinking about how great I felt for another hour. It was the perfect day.

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