That One Time I Went Surfing
Well, at least I tried surfing. Hey all, it's Gadabout Gal Michele and I thought since this past Saturday was International Surfing Day I would share the time I tried surfing in California almost three years ago to the day.
Back in 2015 I was very fortunate to vacation in Southern California and live like a beach bum for a little over two weeks in the quaint beach town of Carpinteria, which is just about ten miles south of Santa Barbara. The town is surrounded by water, waves, sand, mountains and after the morning June gloom burns off, brilliant sunshine. With all of that natural goodness it also fills the area with surfers. Surfers of all different shapes, sizes and skill sets.
So while on vacation we decided to take a two-hour surfing lesson through Surf Happens. In my mind I was raring to go! I mean I did yoga which gave me good balance and a strong core. With that how hard could surfing really be? Should be a piece of cake! Hah!
What I failed to think about is that even though I love to be near the ocean I don't necessarily love to be IN the ocean. Until that day my extent of being in the ocean consisted of walking ankle to calf deep along the shoreline. I've never been one to want to come face-to-face with some sea life of any size. I admire the beauty and mystery of all things under water but from afar, or on the Discovery Channel.
Maybe I neglected to think about that very important fact because I was just way too excited to look the part of a surfer. And because I thought I had great balance and a strong core staying on the board never entered my mind as being a problem. There was no way I was actually going to be in the water anyway, right? Yeah, right!
Once I finished with my surfer photo shoot my instructor Ryan, who is one very cool guy, gave me some tips on the shore and then took me out. Laying on the board paddling out with some strapping young surfer dude wasn't too bad. I thought, I got this. I'm going to be great!
When my wave finally came Ryan helped turn me around so I could catch a ride. I paddled, paddled, paddled and then it took me. I quickly found out that it is not a smooth ride because waves go up, down, back, forth and rumble underneath the board. Trying to jump up while all this is happening, get in a wave riding position, (that is actually much different then a yoga position), and then stand straight up to ride the wave was, well for me, just about impossible. But I gave it a whirl and at the very end of the wave, just about on the shore line I stood up. Well, in all honestly I bent up and let one hand stay on the board. Look at that form!
After my first run Ryan gave me words of encouragement and then turned me back toward the ocean to take me out again. But this time something changed. It was the wind and the waves. Oh the waves. They about doubled in size. So the fun 2-3 foot waves quickly became 3-5 foot waves. I internally freaked out when I saw the size, but Ryan said I could do it. I on the other hand thought much differently. But we tried it again. This time as "my wave" was coming in I looked back and it pretty much towered over me. Before I could cry uncle (or just cry) it took me fast and honestly I don't remember what happened next except that I pretty much face planted the bottom of the ocean. The woman who's face never came in contact with salt water before now had a mouth full. Good times!
Needless to say, for that day my surf lesson was over. Conditions definitely were not fit for a beginner so I happily got out of my wetsuit and headed to my towel for some chill time.
It was a couple days later when conditions were great that Ryan came to my blanket and said he wanted to take me back out. I wasn't so sure, but he really felt I could get the job done. The decision was made to give it one more try so quickly that I didn't have time to put on the cool wetsuit and just did some hanging ten in my bikini. Thank God there was no wardrobe malfunctions!
My second attempt was surprisingly a bit better. I actually did get up for a brief second. It wasn't pretty and I wasn't a pro, but I did something that I never thought I would do and during that vacation I also conquered my fear of swimming around in the ocean. So all in all it was quite successful and a whole lot of fun!
If you're ever heading to the west coast be sure to visit Carpinteria, The World's Safest Beach. It's a cool little town with great restaurants, a beautiful coast, nice beaches, and lots of fun festivals and farmers markets in the downtown area. It's a place I'd definitely go back to visit. Maybe not to surf, (I already checked that off my list), but definitely would love to go back to spend time on the Santa Claus Lane Beach again! Oh, and if you ever go to the Santa Claus Lane Beach, be sure to grab lunch at Padaro Beach Grill. I still crave their grilled red snapper tacos! Yummo!