I only got about an hour in the water today because I screwed around and left home too late and made it to the coast too close to low tide. But it was a great hour! The beach was packed, which, although irritating, was surprisingly easy to block out once I got in the water. Putting on the wetsuit today was a sticky situation -- really tough to layer yourself in neoprene in 90° weather. I kept it down to my waist until the very last possible second.
Maybe the best part of today was that I started my session WITHOUT BOOTIES! No booties! I was hoping that today would be one of the rare days Jules has mentioned where you can surf without a wetsuit, but I quickly figured out that air temperature doesn't necessarily correlate with water temperature. I checked and all the other surfers had full gear on, so I just decided to dip my toes in to just *see* if I could maybe go bootiless. It was painful almost immediately - the water was really damn cold. But once my toes were in, it was over because I felt the soft sand squish around my feet and it felt so incredibly awesome! So awesome. I dipped my fingers in and there was no possible way I could go without gloves, so I suited up fully (no hood; I never wear a hood, and no one needed it today) minus my booties and went in. Ahhhhhh! So awesome. My very first ride I did my move - paddle, paddle, pop! - and just stuck my feet on my board and rode it all the way in. It was really something. It felt so good to have my feet directly on the deck - they've never been there before! And guess what? My feet were made to grip that board. It felt so natural and so barrier-less. I just love how surfing is like life stripped-down anyway, and then getting rid of even one piece of gear just made it feel even more innate. Instinctive. I don't know; I was stoked. I had three more attempts, including one more great ride on my bare feet where I scootched up and down the board a little to balance myself better and to have some fun, and then I was just in too much pain to continue. I couldn't really feel my feet, and I was getting a bad ice cream headache, which I'm sure was related. So I went back in to the shore to put on my booties.
(Side note: when I was barefoot, I was very distracted by looking into the water to see what was going on down there. I'm afraid of fish - yes, I am - and all creatures sea-ish, and I can't believe how many big, huge crabs I saw today. They were everywhere, just crawling around slowly and hanging out by my toes. Ew.)
The waves were about 4-5' today, mostly 4', and it was kind of spastic. I had a couple crazy wipe outs, but also a lot of good pops and smooth rides in. Sooooo satisfying. I did notice that my arms got tired pretty quickly. I'm still on the inside riding whitewater, so I'm not tiring them out paddling; I really do ok with the little paddling I do. I don't even get sore anymore. It's pushing myself up from the board that tires me out. After about 10 of those, I can feel it getting tougher. That bums me out because I've been faithfully using my little dumbbells and I can definitely tell a difference, but I think it's just not enough. I probably need to do push ups like the shop owner told me a long time ago. Ugh. I think I'll give it a try - even just ten? - and see if I can add it to my daily routine. It's usually my arms that give out during the push up and make me have to go in even when I have more energy overall.
After my session, I went by the surf shop to ask about wax. It was so hot today that my wax melted almost completely off my board. It sucked! Usually if you touch the wax, you get sticky. Today, anything that touched my board got a thick coat of wax slimed all over it, to the point that the place where I carried my board on my head is perfectly wax-free and smooth. And, yes, all that wax is still in my hair, even after two good scrubbings tonight in the shower. (Jules would say it's extra nourishment.) Anyway, it turns out there's nothing really to do because the wax is made for the water temp, not the air, so I still need the cold water wax on it. Exactly how I'll get enough wax on it tomorrow to ride, I'm not sure. It's pretty bare right now.
While I was at the shop, the owner gave me crap (as usual) about not getting out of bed early enough to join the morning group. He said that if I could just make it there, he'd put me right beside him in the water and I'd have nothing to worry about. So cool; such a cool guy. I told him (again) that I'm not ready for green waves yet (he just rolls his eyes), but to be honest, I feel close. Jules and I are just waiting for a small day to take me out there and play around. I wouldn't want to do it on a 4-5' day like today, but a 3' day would be perfect. And then I'd love to go out there with him sometime. What an honor.
So, no booties day. A great feeling and a great time in the water. I'm going to try really hard to drag my butt out of bed early tomorrow just to avoid the crowds and to get there before the wind comes up. I don't know how I'll do it, but I can definitely see that I need to get used to early morning sessions to get the best waves. So tough. But people gotta surf!