Friday, November 21, 2008

Best.Surf.Ever ... (or best yet anyway!)

This morning was awesome ... your first time always is .. right!?!
I stood up on my surfboard ... woo hoo!
I had a lesson at 10 am at Umina beach (fyi, pronounced you-mine-ah).
My instructor Kelly had given me a surfboard to try a of week or so ago with the idea that I'd buy it. It's a 7'6'' foam and epoxy board & it's purple, so very girlie & cute. It's a bit beat up as it's used, but it rides nice & light in the water. I'd been out twice with it & sort of went "meh" ... I was just as bad on it as the 8 ft I was borrowing for lessons, so maybe I'll get it.
Last Wednesday (extra day off after our trip to Brisbane), I tried it out for an hour or so at Umina & the surf was almost totally flat. I got a lot of paddling practice, but I didn't catch a single worthwhile wave. As I was leaving I passed a group of school kids coming down to the beach & overheard this one little kid pipe up "Oh, those waves are crap!" Wiser words have never been spoken young surfer dude.
Then on Sunday I met the WowGirls (a group of women I've joined who gets together & surfs ... oh & also bellydances, drums, kayaaks & yogas, etc ... an all-around very cool group of people) at Shelly Beach. It was brutal. It was a full moon high tide, ie. very high & the wind was blowing straight into the beach. The waves were breaking right at the beach & there was tons of them & they were huge. I was thrown up on the beach so many times I was carrying perhaps a pound of sand in my wetsuit & about half a pound in my left eye. Again, not a great test of the board, except to find out that it can sure take a beating.
But today ... I was like Goldilocks ... it was just right!
The waves were big enough to be challenging & small enough to be managable even by a spazz like me. They came in groups, so if you missed one you could catch one of the next ones & with short flat time in between the wave groups to paddle back out. They also broke well before shore ... overall, sweet. I got up on the second wave I caught ... granted I looked like Kermit the frog when he announced guests on the Muppet Show ... you remember, flippers in the air waving around, skinny legs juking, mouth wide open ... well, that was me. Standing up sure helps control the wipeouts, you just kick the board out front when you lose the wave & then fall back or to the side. Beyond the intense saltwater sinus flush, it's a good way to go.
I ended up staying for another hour and a bit after the class with a couple of the women in my group. We couldn't stop ... it was too good, despite the raw knees & elbows ( I really should have bought a full wetsuit instead of a shortie). I probably would have stayed out a good deal longer but my board decided to show me how sharp it's fins could be. Somehow I fell forward off a wave & my board got behind me & sliced my big toe as it sailed by. Actually, it was more potato peeler than cheese grater so it was quick & clean. Despite the stinging pain ... Yesss! ... my first surfing injury! So big smiles as I limped over to Brian on the beach.
We then got to meet the lifeguards as we asked to borrow a bandage. Most of the lifesavers here are volunteers & set up like a family day at the beach, including picnic baskets & their kids, etc. They were pretty bored at the time, so three of them attended to me & laughed at the silly Canadian with the goofy grin stuck on her face. Their kids were all oohing & ahhing over the blood as it was being washed off. I made so many people happy today. No stitches required even, who could ask for more!?!
Oh, needless to say, I now own my own board, so I will be terrrorizing the beaches up and down the Central Coast from this day forward.

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