I had high hopes of a RAD surf vid starring ME — hanging ten, claiming a gnarly barrel — something more exciting than always being my tugboat man’s Surf Bunny sitting on the beach taking pix and video of HIM.
I’m not sure why I thought that my third-time-only on a surfboard would miraculously “Matrix”-me the ability to stand up on a moving board of fiberglass — I guess it’s ‘cos my tugboat man, my son, and my DIL all make it seem so easy, so effortless.
You paddle out, you turn the board around, jump up, and ride the wild surf.
Easy, right? Wrong. Not easy.
I was a naive sixteen-year-old the first time I thought I could channel Gidget. My high school boyfriend handed me his board and said, “Go for it!”
Bikini-clad (string bikini), I walked the surfboard out from the shore. I was up to my knees in foamy white water when the first wave hit my board, causing it to fly up and hit me in the mouth, splitting open my lip. I turned around, walked out of the water, threw the board down, and spent the rest of the day icing my fat lip. Total surf time: less than two minutes.
Fast forward thirty-plus years…my second try at surfing wasn’t much of a success, either. My tugboat man took me out in the water and stood right next to me holding down his 9’6″ Bear longboard so the tip wouldn’t fly up and cause a repeat injury.
As a fresh wave was forming, he turned me around, promised NOT to let go, but guess what? The force of the wave pushed me away from him too fast and he couldn’t hold on.
HE LET GO. Oops.
The last thing I remember was hearing, “Don’t let go and damage my board!”
The nose of the board pearled, which means the tip of the board went underwater, I went underwater, the board rolled over, I rolled over, the board was on top of me, I hit the ocean floor with the force of one thousand Gidgets and was dragged for a time over big rocks and small rocks.
Thump, thump, thump. NOT a graceful sight.
I finally resurfaced on the shore like a beached whale, still gripping that stupid Buick-sized longboard. With bits of seaweed clinging to my hair and my bathing suit bottom mostly OFF, with sand in my mouth, my ears, my nose — everywhere that COULD be filled with sand WAS filled with sand.
I stood up, shook the water out of my eyes and looked around for that damn tugboat man. He was still in the water behind me, running to me as fast as he could — in slow motion — his mouth agape, trying to not laugh, and then he said, “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?”
I squinted at him, spit out a mouthful of ocean, and marched my microdermabraded body back to our towels, studiously avoiding eye contact with dozens of spectators lining the shore.
As he recovered his precious and undamaged board and took it out for a successful surf sesh, I was occupied by watching the blooming of bruises from my hips to my ankles. I was a mass of purple and black and blue. Total surf time: less than two minutes.
You would think that I’d never want to recreate that humiliating scene again, and you’d be right. Well, sort of. For ten years, I refused to enter the ocean at ALL, but a couple days ago, I decided to face my fear AGAIN and give it a try.
I thought it would be different this time but I was clearly not thinking straight.
This vintage poster adorns our bedroom — maybe it’s been subliminally infiltrating my subconscious — embuing me with a foolish and misguided perception of my surfing ability. The truth? I possess NO water skills. I’m not a very good swimmer — I don’t like to put my head in the water.
What. Ever. Here I am at our Carlsbad beach. It’s a lovely, lovely day.
I should have quit while I was ahead, that’s all I can say.
Notice the pretty aqua board to my right? A 9’6″ Ernie Higgins.
Time to surf! I took off my earrings, changed into another bikini top, and pulled on hub’s extra spring suit. The water temp’s about 72-ish, but way too cold for me.
What a vision, huh?
It was a rerun of my previous venture to emulate the life of a wahine.
Hub stands next to me holding the board. Hub says, “Do you want to take this wave?” and pushes me forward. I fall off the board IMMEDIATELY and exfoliate all exposed body parts as I’m dragged back to shore.
Once again, I spit out a gallon or two of sandy seawater and hobble back to our towels. Total surf time: less than two minutes.
I give up, I took out my beach read and my camera to snap pics of hub heading out to show me how it should be done.
Yes, he wears a surf hat. Don’t laugh.
Not every attempt is a success, but it wasn’t exactly a failure either, because I overcame my fears and gave it a try. Will I do it again?
Maybe. ‘Cos you miss all the waves you don’t try, right?