Surfer’s log: day 2.
He was probably in his mid thirties, broad shoulders strengthened by paddling, a head of sun bleached blond hair and the light heart of a ten year old. He waved to his girl and sprinted out into the ocean with his board in hand, diving right into the crashing breakers and paddling his way out like the ruthless, brutal ocean that had been pounding us was his childhood playground and lifelong best friend. He almost immediately took a wave, whipping and carving across its surface like he was dancing in air. After several rides he popped up out of the water with a huge grin and enthusiastically bounded up to his girlfriend. She sat patiently knitting on the beach, her hands continuing to knit and purl as she looked up to give him a smile, having accepted her role as second love long ago.
To become a surfer I have to learn to love the ocean as he does. I have to learn to know my body rolling and tumbling beneath the waves as an embrace. I have to swallow the saltwater, grin and lick my lips. As the waves hit my face or send me sprawling, this is the playful shove of an old friend, and I need to come up grinning.
We spent today working our way through the beginner process of walking out and riding whitewater back in. Whitewater is the gurgling mush that is left over just after the wave breaks and is the easiest to catch and ride. There isn’t a lot of power left, but it’s enough to stand up on a large board and make a few attempts to turn before gliding onto the beach.
As the sun worked its way out to sea I felt like I was getting up faster and more consistently and Margaret was right there with me. We kept edging further and further out, catching the whitewater closer to the break where it would be stronger. When at last the sun was swallowed up we were strolling back with our huge boards on our heads like proud Indian women, filled with the contentment and satisfaction only an intense day of focused work can bring.
We had just enough energy left to peel off our rubbery wet suit skins and start the drive back along one of California’s ubiquitous eight lane highways, in this case the 5 bound for San Diego. Already I was wearing nothing but shorts, shades, and a thin layer of saltwater. Our conversation consisted primarily of single word pronouncements about the day as we slowly panned our orbs over the palm trees rolling by. “Sweet.” “Nice.”
As part of our secondary mission to consume as much ocean food as possible, we’d already had amazing fresh .99 cent fish tacos from a nearby shack. Today Aviva texted us to a Thai place for a mountain of mouth buzzing, forehead sweatening, zappingly hot Thai curried seafood. The muscles were astounding. I’m so happy that the ocean produces such delicious fuel for the riding of its waves.
Sleep came swiftly and was most welcome.