Catching the waves...well, sort of...
Oct 04, 2005
Well, I had my first surf lesson, courtesy Ross, and lets just say that I'm no Gidget. After a lovely pancake breakfast, courtesy me, we headed out surfboard in hand (or wedged between the two front seats of Ross's car) with good spirits and high hopes. I was just so sure that I would be absolutely fabulous at surfing! I mean, I can windsurf, there couldn't be that much difference between the two. At least I know that I can stand on the board. So there we were at a little beach south of Surfers gazing out at two foot waves and about a hundred people bobbing around in the water trying to get a decent ride. As I watched I saw a kid about three feet tall and no older than 7 easily catch a wave and ride it all the way in. This will be a piece of cake, I thought. My teacher bravely handed me the board, his prized posession and baby, and we headed into the fray. Ok, I was told, all I had to do was lay on the board and wait for a wave. When I see a wave coming, I paddle as hard as I can and then once I've caught it, stand up slowly pulling my left knee up first. Just make sure that I'm far enough up on the board so that I catch the wave, but not so far up that I nosedive. Ok, can do. Got it. Just wing it. So there I was laying on the board, enjoying the day, when I hear a "Go! Now!" and then felt the board being shoved forward. As I rose in the water I was thrilled at how good I was doing at catching a wave...and then I looked down. I saw the nose of the board going into the water and before I could even think how to make it come back out, I was submerged with a bruise already forming on my shoulder from wear the board had hit me. When I came up, there was my oh so sensitive "teacher" laughing. Ok, I thought, that was a fluk, I am meant to be good at this and I will be, damn it! Now I know what too far up on the board looks like, not to mention what it feels like. So the next time I heard the go and felt the push, I made sure I was positioned well and paddled harder. And I caught the wave all the way in!! I did it! I just didn't stand up was all...but at least I caught it! I was sure that the next time I would be able to stand up, after all, it was the next logical step. And lo and behold, using the Ross "just go for it" method, I DID stand up! Even if it was for like two seconds and I got a bruise on my shin to match the one on my shoulder, I can now say that I have caught a wave AND stood up on a surf board! And though Ross was very congratulatory of my two second stand, he couldn't believe how banged up I was getting myself and wished that he had a camera to capture my not exactly graceful surfing attempts. And here I was, accident-prone me, thinking that all people got beat up by their boards while learning to surf. Oh well, I knew that my next attempt would be the best yet and that I would soon be starring in the fourth (and best) installment of Gidget or Blue Crush 2. And as I caught what was to be my last fateful wave with the help of that friendly push, I just knew that this was going to be great...until I saw this orange thing coming at me from the left. I was later told that the surfer to the left has the right of way and that the people to the right need to get out of the way, thus avoiding collisions. Even if I had fully understood this rule at the time, I doubt that I would have known how to get off the wave at that point. So after an attempt at turning away from the orange thing surfing towards me, and then a last effort scream, I found myself tumbling around underwater, tangled in two surfboards and the mysterious orange figure. When I came up for air, I looked around to see a little girl of about nine wearing an orange shirt and smiling at me as if I had just made her day. Oh my God, I thought, I ran over a little kid, a little kid that actually knows how to surf and who's parents are probably about to swoop down and yell at me for cutting their baby's ride short. She quickly untangled our boards, hopped back on, and paddled away to ride another wave, while I guilt-ridden and clumsily trying to paddle kept yelling my apologies. Once again my teacher was in hysterics, telling the little girl that she should report such bullies as she paddled by. Ross tried to get me to get back on the board, but after my own injuries and then hitting a little girl, I figured that I had done enough damage for the day. I realized that on a surfboard I was more like Mel Gibson in a Lethal Weapon movie than Sandra Dee in Gidget. Oh well, after Ross caught a couple waves and stood up for more than two seconds, we went to lay on the beach, which is something I know I'm good at from lots of practice. We both promptly fell asleep, he tired from all that laughing and me exhausted from all my lethal surfing. When we awoke, we topped the day off with some fish and chips bought from the female fish and chips version of the soup nazi. All and all it was a fabulous day even if I'm not the world-class surfer I thought I would be...but beware, I will try surfing again and who knows what will happen or who will be my next victim...