…a beginner’s thoughts on paddling out into the Pacific.
I was introduced to surfing by my friend Kathleen who has been doing it for years now. She began in Costa Rica…THE place to surf, by the way. Before that, she introduced me to the surf therapy organization, A Walk on Water. She said I’d have fun at the event and I should bring my camera. At that time in my life, I was thinking that might actually be good for me – to give back. After the first day, I could not wait to go to the next event. I was hooked. Not long after that, I started surfing.
I grew up in the ocean, it’s where I spent my childhood summers. I conquered body surfing, boogie boarding, etc. but had never actually tried surfing even though my siblings and I wanted to. My dad was apparently really good at it back in the 70’s and was “king” of his beach break in San Clemente. He warned us how dangerous it is and how hard it is and convinced us to stick with boogie boarding…until my brother and I started skateboarding, which, in my opinion, is a LOT more dangerous than surfing in the big blue.
Not only is this a challenging yet rewarding sport, but it’s also therapeutic. The ocean itself is therapeutic. I’m still learning more about this, and myself. I started on a longboard and felt that was not only too easy, but a pain in the ass to carry around. I went from a 10ft longboard to a 7ft board. Trust me, that difference is huge. Shorter boards are less forgiving. You have to earn your balance.
Tip: don’t ever go into the water with a bad attitude. The waves will give it right back to you.
Fact: the best surfer in the water is the one who’s having the most fun.
Being the moment-capturer and adventure junkie photographer that I am, of course, I put a GoPro on my board. These are a collection of some artsy water snaps, me wiping the fuck out, and also some fun rides I’ve caught as well. This sport has saved me many times. Have I gotten hit the face with my own board? Yes. Slammed into a boulder I couldn’t see under the water? Yes. Gotten the leash tightly wrapped my neck and ankles, leaving me unable to swim? Unfortunately, yes. Taken large waves right on the head because I didn’t paddle hard enough? Duh. Bruises and Charley Horses from being slammed around? Always. Is it worth it? …IT’S LIFE.
“A bad day in the water is far better than a good day out of it…”
And finally, here’s me one month after being infected with COVID. I still couldn’t breathe very well and had my inhaler stuffed inside my wetsuit. Not a very good idea. It wasn’t as flat as Surfline said it would be. But I did it anyway.