Here I am with 15-year-old Brice, and 12-year-old Charles. They were in the water nearby as I was taking my surf lesson (I happened to be the only one signed up, so I got a private lesson for the price of a group lesson! Score!). These two guys schooled me. They made it look much easier than it is… Believe me, it isn't. But it was fun to have them nearby with their coach, J, and mine, Austin. We were able to cheer each other on while we were riding the waves.
I think if I continued practicing, I could get the hang of surfing. It's harder than snowboarding because of the effort required to paddle out every time, as well as the fact that mountains don't constantly move under you, while waves do. On one particularly gnarly waves, I was plunged forward and my board was on top of me. It created a suction with the surface of the water that held me under, and my leash wound around the board a couple times, rendering me fairly helpless. For what seemed like a minute, I couldn't tell which way was up, or when I would catch my next breath. Every time I turned towards the surface, I grabbed a quick gasp of air, and managed not to choke.
Finally, the wave subsided, and I was able to pop my head up, and pop back up on the board. It is a huge personal accomplishment for me not to have totally freaked out… In fact, it gave me a healthy respect for the power of the sea, and spurred me on so that I've learned not to let it happen again.
You know what else I won't let happen again? Massive sunburn on my backside. I should've applied more than three layers. Paddling out on your stomach with your legs exposed for two hours is punishing. It hurts to sit. But oh, so worth it!