I had a crazy session with Jules on Thursday. I've been buzzing a bit ever since.
When I got to the surf shop, a new guy was working the front counter. He started filling out the paperwork for my lesson and charging me the full price. When that happens, I never say a word. I appreciate every break they've given me at the shop, and I'm not about to take it for granted. But the owner came up behind me just in time, threw his arm around me and told the guy, "This is LSL. She gets the bro deal." Awww yeah. That's what I'm talking about. :)
It was really great to see Jules. She looked radiant with her blonde eyelashes and clear blue eyes. She asked me how I was doing, and I told her that I was feeling a little raw, and then I started to cry. It's all just so close to the surface, I couldn't help it. Jules put her arms around me and said quietly, "It's so hard to be amazing." We had a brief beach talk but we both just wanted to get in the water.
Conditions were really nice - 4' and glassy - and I wanted to try the outside again, but we decided that I should first take some rides in the whitewater to find my mojo. It's been so long since I've had a good session; I just needed that feeling of getting it right to help me remember that I know how. I took a few - nothing great, but I got up each time - and Jules gave me feedback. On one ride she said, "You're doing fine, but you're fidgeting a lot." I said, "What do you mean?" She showed me by doing this little dance and moving her arms around and hoping back and forth. She said, "It's ok, you're working it out" but to be honest, I was just impressed that I can move around that much on the board while it's going! Her imitation cracked me up. But it was true - I was having a hard time relaxing and letting go during the ride. And I was slouching over a little; I was having a hard time rising up with my head and my heart. "Have courage," Jules told me. "When you lift your heart, it's a display of courage."
After a handful of rides inside, we paddled out. Because of the conditions it was slightly easier than last time, but I still was surprised by how much muscle it takes. Or rather, what different muscles it takes. I was beat when we got out there. (No, I haven't started my push ups yet. I know!) We hung out for a while just waiting for something to try, but it seemed like things flattened out as soon as we arrived. The other two or so surfers (I love surfing in Oregon) went in, but we kept at it, just waiting, moving around to get in better position, waiting more. Jules' boyfriend was out surfing and he went by us at one point and said, "Nice day for a paddle."
I tried a couple out there but there was nothing to dig into. At that point I was feeling some familiar feelings - discouraged about my progress and just truly skeptical about my ability to ever really get this. I hate that I jump to that so quickly, but you have to admit that I've been at this for a while and I think I've been pretty patient with myself. And I was just coming off a couple of sessions where I did the 3 hour round-trip drive, suited up, went in for two hours, and didn't even get a single wave. To still have days where I can't get on my feet on whitewater? That makes a girl question whether or not she's just fighting the inevitable. I talked with Jules about it a little and she thinks I'm choosing the wrong waves and wrong parts of the wave, and that it will just take lots of time in the water to learn what is best to ride. That may be true, but with my progress as slow as it is, I still question my ability to do this.
We gave up on anything happening way out, so we went slightly in and Jules put her board up. We were still outside so we could get the waves before they broke, but because of the tide, Jules could just touch the bottom. That meant she could line me up and give me a little push, which is how she's always said she wanted me to try my first green.
The waves finally picked up to about 3' and Jules encouraged me to take a belly ride so I could feel the difference between white and green waves. I tried, but wiped out or ditched on the first couple, just feeling so disoriented at the slight vertical action. There really is a tiny drop! I was able to take a fully belly ride on maybe my third attempt, and it was great to feel the difference while on my belly. After that, I was really to try it on my feet, but I was still confused about when I should do my move -- you have to pop up so much earlier on green waves, and you can't wait for the sound of it breaking to help you. By then it's too late. The only times I've tried green waves, I've popped way too late.
So Jules told me she'd say "Now!" on a few to help me learn the timing, and I should pop right when I heard her. Well, it happens so fast! You really do have to go so much earlier and quicker. I have to say, I'm getting a pretty good snap in my pop, just doing it faster but without losing too much control or flow. That feels good.
So I took a wave, heard Jules yelled, "Now!", and I popped. And then I dropped! Crazy!!! I still can't get over this feeling. It's crazy! It's just a small drop, but you feel it. And I thought it would be jarring or something, but it is so crazy-gentle; at the bottom of the drop, the water just absorbs you and carries you. But that drop - wow! It was a small day, so I know they weren't huge waves, but I could still feel that millisecond of catching air before the cushion. Crazy!!
On my first ride, when I popped and got to my feet, I was like, "Ok, I'm here. What's different about this?" And then I dropped and I yelled, "Oh my god, Jules!" and looked back at her - it was so funny. It was just my reaction. My neck snapped back in her direction and I saw her jumping up and down and pumping her fists. And I was thinking, "I can't believe I just felt that crazy feeling. That is a totally new experience. That is crazy." And then I realized I was still riding! So I just took it all the way in, slightly to the left, and the did my world famous back flop off. (Ouch.) I got my board and ran back out to Jules just babbling and OMG-ing, and as we were getting into position for the next one, she looked at me sideways with a smile and said, "That's the drug."
I took several more right away, and on the next two I let out involuntary "Whoaaaaaaaa!"'s when I did the little drop - it's just such a rad feeling. I felt like a little kid unable to control my reaction or something. I wish I could describe it better. It's so out of control one second and then completely in control the next. It feels amaaaaaaazing. Near the end I had one really great ride, my best ever, that was just long and yummy after a very fun drop, and I just danced around on the board a bit to celebrate as I rode in. So fun. So, so fun.
Jules was so excited for me, just reflecting on how far I've come and how she's watched me progress. I just couldn't get over having such a new experience. I told her - how often as an adult do you get to experience something completely new, something you've never even heard of or considered before? Jules' boyfriend was taking pictures that day and he said he got several of me dropping in. You all know I'm not nuts about pictures of myself in my wetsuit, but I'm hoping there are some good ones in this bunch. It would be neat to have a picture from this day.
I had a date that night (Oh, lawd. Must blog about all the freaky dates lately.) and he asked how my day was. I tried to very briefly explain that I'd had a really great session, and how surfing is so good for me, so different than other "hobbies" or interests. Then I asked how his day was, and he'd had a really bad one - it was EOM and everyone at the office had been working late this week, the sales folks were breathing down his neck, etc. It was kind of hard not to say, "Should you just kill yourself or something?"
I have another session with Jules on Tuesday, and so far the report is looking awesome - 4' at 12 seconds with very low winds. Looks like another great day to get outside, which is good because white was super fun, but now all I want is green, green, green.