Surfer Girl

Surfing is a great analogy to navigating life. If you can just keep everything in balance, get back up when you get knocked down, once in a while you’ll have a killer ride. So in keeping with that philosophy, this year I decided to try and master the real thing. So far I haven’t been too successful in riding the waves. When I voiced my desire to a surfer I know, he volunteered a surf lesson, but got frustrated after a while cuz he wanted to be out there in the waves and was lollygagging around with me, the novice. I got a serious case of board rash (what? me! in a wetsuit? I want to look cute in my bikini!) and haven’t waxed a board since. I think I need professional help. Any suggestions on a killer, fun… and maybe this is asking too much…cheap way to learn to surf?
The year is half over and I’m high and dry.
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7 Replies to “Surfer Girl”

  1. Anecdotal observations of a longtime SoCal surfer who has helped several people learn to surf over the past few years and decades…

    Surfing is just about the hardest sport in the world because there is nothing else where the substrate you’re standing on moves rapidly and unpredictably.

    The best way to learn to surf is to go surfing. If you can find a friend who knows how to surf and will stay with you in the water and advise you, so much the better. (There are some of them, you just happened to go out with the wrong guy.)

    Learning to surf is about learning to read the water and the waves (where are the waves breaking, how are they breaking, is there a current, how fast and what direction, etc.); learning to manage the board (how to sit, how to paddle, etc.); and finally learning how to stand up and get the board moving in the direction you want to go.

    You can learn all this by yourself (takes a long time) or from somebody else, either a friend or a surfcamp. Going to a surfcamp will probably teach you a lot in a short time, albeit for a fee. You can find surfcamps on the web (google is your friend), on the dedicated surf web sites, or in the magazines (library, surf shops, etc.). You’ll have to pay some money, and you may or may not get a good camp and instructor. I recently saw an advert for a surfcamp by and for women. I believe it was in the South Bay, OC or San Diego area. That might be good for you since it would give you instruction with better teachers than your surfer friend, and that would give you confidence to go out on your own after the camp finished.

    Don’t look at the year as half over. Look at it as the summer is just beginning, which means warm water but smallish surf, with the occasional summer swell with some size and speed. Summer is a good time to learn, so you’re jumping in at the right time.

    Go to the beach a lot, especially in the morning. Find out if your favorite beach is best at low or high tide (probably high). Find somebody else to go out with – not the guy who abandoned you because he had something better to do.

    I’ve tried to help three people learn to surf over the past two years. One is a 28 year old who just finished Stanford med school and is now a resident at UCLA. He lives in my building, doesn’t have a lot of time due to work and new g.f., but has a lot of commitment. He goes out a lot, and when he was just beginning he was enthusiastic to go out with me and learn what I could teach him. He’s already pretty good. Another is also a recent Stanford grad, about 30, but he’s into karate and bicycling and computers and his new gf. He rarely goes out anymore and is no better now than when he started two years ago. The third was a 26 year old woman and actress with lots of time who found me on craigslist. She didn’t show up for the three appointments we had at the beach in Santa Monica. After the second no-show I got the picture, and after the third no-show I dropped the email correspondence.

    It’s all about commitment. If you really want to surf – go to the beach and surf as much as you can. If you wait for somebody else to help you, it’s probably not going to happen.

  2. Wow! Thanks Dano…that’s a lot of useful information…and I agree, like with anything, learning is all about commitment. i grew up on the water in the Fl keys, so the allure of being in the ocean is strong.
    I’ll try some of your suggestions…
    Will, thanks for the links!

  3. Oh…you’re right! I checked out yogasurfcamp and it looks like the bomb for me. THANKYOU!!!!!!

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