Friday, December 24, 2010

Surfing at Last!

Finally, after talking about it every single time we can't dive because the surf is up...I took a lesson. It was kind of a reward after sealing the roof and painting around the house. I was in a funk due to (for here) crappy grey weather and a lack of caving and diving. I called to arrange the lesson and left a message for Melissa at Puntas Surf School in Rincon. She didn't answer so I brought beach stuff and what I thought I should wear surfing and decided to go to Corseca Beach to check out the visibility for diving this weekend. As soon as I got to the Rincon exit she called back and I was meeting her in 30 minutes at Maria's Beach.
She showed me some paddling tips, the stand-up maneuver and position on the board before heading out into the water. Paddle paddle paddle and out we went across the white breaking waves. Kind of tiring since my arm strength isn't that great. We got where we could rest and she gave some more tips and started looking for waves. "Paddle paddle paddle...pop!" she said. When the wave caught the board I could really feel it. That surprised me. It is almost like an invisible hand down there that reaches up, takes hold and starts to pull! What a rush! I was standing on the first try and rode it for a little bit and it fizzled out. Then it was paddle paddle paddle to get back out. As a beginner the waves looked pretty big to me. A couple times I forgot to rise up on the board when a wave crashed on me and that is not good. Rising up reduces the impact. Then it was resting and waiting and then "paddle paddle paddle" and "up." You can definitely feel when to stand. I had a couple waves I was too far "on my heels" and toppled after only riding a little bit but I was up every single time. I didn't think I'd be standing/riding on the first lesson so I was very excited. I think the hardest thing about surfing will be reading the waves, learning the timing, and developing the different muscles needed. Diving requires a strong back. Caving requires flexibility, slithering ability and a mental attitude. Surfing I think (this is only after one lesson so what do I know) requires a strong core - my ribs and pubic bone were/are very sore. The ribs were sore kind of like in kayak water polo sore but a little different. My shoulders weren't sore and my back was fine but pressing into the board on the pelvis made that area sore. I think you have to learn not to "look" once you decide to go for it! In caving you can do crazy climbs and slithering because you only look where your light is and avoid seeing the huge drops or other dangers by not looking there. After you commit to a wave I think it is the same mental thing. The surf pushed my bikini into a thong so next time I may wear pilates or biking shorts. (the extra padding may help too). So in the hour lesson part was on the beach and the 45 minutes in the water let me catch around 5 or 6 waves. The last one I could tell was different than the others because I felt a mini elevator drop sensation in my stomach and knew I missed the timing a little or it was just bigger than the others. I fell off, the board I think may have whacked me a little and I got salt water up my nose before paddling back out for the final wave. The last wave died pretty quickly and instead of paddling out I aimed for the shore and rode the board in on my stomach which was extremely fast, furious and fun! Even if I never get good at this I can always have fun on the board anyway. So after inquiring about used boards Melissa was willing to sell me a couple and xmas became a much happier day. I had been looking for boards but most of what was available seemed to be short which isn't good for beginners. The boards are soft boards like what I had the lesson on which I think is good since we aren't 30 anymore, may not get good at this for awhile (if ever) and the impact will be less when we get whacked. Now I had to hide the boards and contain my excitement so Jeff wouldn't know what I had done. How do you hide a 9 foot and 7' 8" board from your husband? I leaned them on the other side of the shed and since he comes home in the dark he didn't see them. He also didn't suspect I would do that. What I had trouble with was not busting out with the surf lesson excitement! I also explained away my lack of accomplishments in the yard (not up to the usual) with feeling a little "off." Reality of course was some tired arms and sore ribs and pubic bone. So today I gave him the leash and let him figure it out. He thought it was a stand up paddle board but I had no intention of ever doing that - I call it the paddle "bored." He is excited to get out there but the waves are huge right now - too big for beginners I think. We'll try for next Thursday when he has a day off. He is excited and so am I! Just what we need...more equipment and more body damaging it while you can I say since it won't be for forever.


Summer said...

Yay! What a great present. Glad you had fun on your surf lesson. Now that you know the basics, all it takes is practice practice practice. And you are right, the waves right now are way too big for beginners (and even the majority of experts!). Have fun and felicidades!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Summer for recommending Melissa - I think I was able to ride some waves only because of her perfect timing. I'll need another lesson or two from her on how to figure out when to start paddling and what to do if you are in the wave and it doesn't feel right when it grabs you (the last wave). Any advice you have for me is appreciated! Thanks, katrina

Anonymous said...

That is great! Wonderful inspiration for those of us who want to try surfing.