i like to think of myself as a pretty adventurous soul. i like to go, and do, and try stuff, so when my friend suggested we go surfing i was all for it. nevermind that it was early October and forecast was rainy and windy and 12ft seas…

i will admit, i felt pretty tough and cool with all that gear strapped to Klaus’ rack…

we made it down to indian beach on saturday and the place was de-sert-ed. there was only one other vehicle in the parking lot. at first i think to myself: “sweet! beach all to ourselves!” then i get out of the car and think: “clearly, we are insane…”

cause it was sideways rain, windy-as-hell, and chilly as all get out. i had never before used a wet suit, so i was still somewhat skeptical about its ability to keep me from losing a vital percentage of my overall body heat. and last time i checked, hypothermia is not hot. also, though equipped with what SHOULD work as chest-mounted-built-in flotation devices, i am not the world’s strongest swimmer. i was getting slightly nervous about how rough the ocean looked, plus, when we unstrapped the boards, the wind picked them up and tossed them off the top of the car and cruelly down to the pavement. i found myself looking at my companion and saying: “have i made it clear i don’t want to die like this?”

nevertheless, we hoofed it down to the water and gamely waded in. it was at this point i discovered what i can only describe as the most magical thing i have learned in years: if i wear a wetsuit i can go in the ocean in october, and it is totally comfortable. seriously, this is life-changing information.

so. after a brief introduction to surfing basics, i wrestled myself on top of the board i’d been handed and managed to ride a pretty nice wave back to the shore. i was on my belly the whole time, but i can see why people abandon real life to do this all the time. i have to liken it to the feeling i had the first time i was on skis; the feeling was one of body-engulfing ecstatic giddiness. this obsession? it has me.

bolstered by my initial success, i waded back out into the water and took hold of the wider board my friend offered me in the hopes that though more cumbersome, it might prove slightly more stable for me and thus easier to mount. trying to wrangle this board was definitely more challenging, and about 2 minutes after he handed it to me, i managed to set it parallel to the wave (just exactly like you aren’t supposed to) and when the swell caught the board it smashed me full in the face and knocked me under. the degree of distress this caused my compatriot was considerable; apparently there was lots of blood.

i was fairly equivocal about the whole thing. i am constantly hurting myself; twisting, spraining, bruising, burning, scraping, or otherwise mangling myself. i fall down frequently doing nothing more complicated than trying to sit in my chair at work, so this pretty much seemed like par for the course. i spat blood into the ocean for about 10 minutes, but other than that, it didn’t really slow me down. plus this way, i’d look EXTRA tough and cool!!

ultimately, it was a really great experience. almost as soon as we got in the water, the wind let up and the rain stopped. the water was rough, but not scary rough. i had a few people tell me it wasn’t really an ideal day to get started on, but even if that’s true, i’m hooked. as far as i can tell, that just means, it gets better!