So today I took my waxed board out for her maiden voyage! We're currently in the middle of a major cold snap and the high today was supposed to be about 38*. Bummer. I stopped by the shop to get a hood - my first time using a hood - and went to the spot to get started.
I have to say I was really nervous starting out. It was another perfectly sunny day (although quite windy) and there were a good number of other surfers at the cove today. They all looked so confident with their short little boards. I don't know; if I'm away for too long, I have a tough time. I also knew I'd spend this session and the next several getting used to my new board - just flipping off of it over and over and over, and I wasn't stoked to do that in front of a bunch of experts. Add to that the fact that I've had stupid WHOOPING COUGH, no shit, for the last two months (Seriously, what's next? Polio? The bubonic plague?) which has kept me away from running or yoga, and I've been noticing extra padding here and there on my body . . . I was a bit of a wreck.
It turned out to be a great session. The water was frickin cold, and I started out in the parking lot not even sure I could get in, but the hood helps and you just don't notice it after a while. Wearing the hood did bug me in that it muffled noise and made wiping out a little scarier (being held under water and not being able to hear normally), and it made it hard to get water out of my ears, but it wasn't the claustrophobic nightmare I thought it would be. And the best news ever? I didn't flip. I didn't fall off! I couldn't be more shocked. I did just fine on the board. Great, in fact. My first ride was perfectly stable, just like I was on the 11', and every ride after was just about the same. I noticed I struggled with placing myself on the board - there's a foot less space, so I have to figure out where the middle is on this one - where my belly goes so that I'm not too far forward or too far back. And the board is a little thinner in width and thickness. But it all felt really good. I can't believe it - no big transition. Probably lots of little transitions, but no big learning curve again. I felt great on the board!
I should mention that as I huffed my way up the trail and back to my car, board on head, truly exhausted and out of breath, one of the other girl surfers who had been out (on the inside but able to stand) stopped me to talk. She just mentioned the conditions and how we had some kind of rip current in a strange place today, (we both had noticed it), and how her group walked south a bit and found a better area. She made a joke about riding white water and not being ready to play on the outside (outside of where the waves break) yet, and the whole thing was just really friendly. I appreciated her kind gesture. I'd love to make surf buddies.
When I stopped back by the shop to return the hood, I talked for a few minutes with the owner and another really great guy who works there. They asked how I did and I told them about feeling good with the stability of the board. They know I use little hand weights to build my upper-body strength (did you know surfing is almost all upper-body strength?) and so they were telling me a few moves to do with them to help my paddling muscles. It was great to get advice from some smart, long-time surfers.
I didn't mention it while we were chatting, but I've been feeling some increased frustration about not being able to stand up. I have an awesome time every session, but I have wondered what my problem is and if I should just admit defeat at some point. Those things were going through my head as we talked, and suddenly the shop employee said, "You know, it just clicks one day. You're at a plateau and you're just doing the same old moves over and over, and one day, something clicks and you go to the next level. And then you're at that level for a while. It just happens." It was SO encouraging. I hope he's right. I don't think there's anything else I can do than what I'm doing now, so I'm hopeful that "click" is not too far off for me.
Finally, Jules called tonight to touch base about the weather and a session we have planned for tomorrow. We're thinking if it's at least 30-ish we should go for it. When she called I had just gotten out of the shower where I'd scrubbed like hell but still couldn't get the surf wax out of my hair. (Carrying my board on my head leaves a massive rats nest of wax up there.) I asked her about it and we had a quick conversation that reminded me of why I'm so crazy about her. I said, "Hey, how do you get board wax out of your hair? I've got tons up there." She said, "Um, shampoo. Just shower and shampoo your hair like regular and it should come out." I asked, "What if that doesn't do it?" and she answered, "If shampoo doesn't do it then it's fine." Pause. "Uh, what's fine?" "Wax in your hair. You just surf and you get wax in your hair. It's ok."
Right. I could use a serious dose of whatever chill she's got going. Love Jules. Love the new board. Love having a bunch of days with good waves. Love surfing in December. Love it all.