Yesterday our alarm went off at 6:45. In the morning. Just think about that for a second: we woke up, voluntarily, at 6:45 am on a Saturday.
But it was for a good cause: we’re trying to learn to surf. I mean, we live in Huntington Beach – Surf City. How can we live here for the next several years and not try to surf?
We can’t, apparently.
So yesterday morning we dragged ourselves out of our cozy bed to frolic around in the ocean in 63-degree weather. Brilliant, I know.
We took a lesson back in November and I did really well. Of course, it was sunny weather, smaller waves, and, of course, the instructor was throwing us into the waves – telling us when to paddle and when to stand up. It was fun. I felt like a natural. And, after my very first time, in which I thought I was going to die, I felt like I could actually get the hang of this; that I could be a Surfing Girl.
But then yesterday happened. And I got my ass handed to me. Big time. I was no longer this natural Surfer Girl. I was this inept person from land-locked state, just trying to fit in. And I wasn’t doing a very good job at it, either.
Every time a wave would curl up around me I would forget everything our instructor taught us back in November. I just kept thinking, Oh, man. This thing is going to knock me every which way and I’m sure I’m getting hit in the head with the surf board. And sure enough, that thing hit me every time. I swallowed so much water I almost threw up. After what seemed like hours (but maybe was only half an hour), I finally had to take a break. My head was pounding and those waves were really starting to scare me. I mean, really scare me.
My first attempt to surf was years ago, when I was still living in Santa Barbara. A friend from work tried to teach me and as we were paddling out and a wave was rolling in, she looked at me and said, “Ok, now duck dive.” And then she disappeared into the water. And while I lay on my surf board wondering just what the hell a duck dive was, the wave pulled me under and kept me under. I thought for sure that I was never going to get out of there. I imagined her having to tell my parents she lost my body (there’s that over-active imagination again). And then I finally surfaced and stayed on the beach while she surfed.
And this little ocean trip yesterday felt exactly like that. As I told Wes: I hate the complete lack of control I feel when a wave knocks me around. I don’t know when I’m coming up, or where. I can’t control the board so it usually hits me. Mostly, I hate not being able to breathe or see what the f is going on. So I sat on the beach and watched people who know what they’re doing. And, even from the beach, those waves looked huge. Too big for me to want to go back out.
I need smaller waves. And sun. I need it to be something fun – like it was in November – instead of this constant fight for breath.
So we’ll try to find the smaller waves – the ones that seasoned surfers don’t want to ride – and we’ll practice. I need something to boost my ego after yesterday’s sad display.
As long as we stay here for the next couple of years, I think I can master those tiny waves.