Another biggie gets checked off this week!
Surf Lessons: Last Saturday, I decided to drag out summer for another weekend and boarded a bus bound for the Jersey Shore. My family gathered in Ocean City, NJ to celebrate three amazing things:
- The kickoff of my Grandma’s 86th birthday-week
- My niece’s first beach trip
- And of course, my bucket list surf lesson
As always, it was amazing to spend time with my beautiful and supportive Grandma. She is literally the best. In preparation for my surf lesson, we discussed all of the other stupid/risky things I’ve done this year (running a ½ marathon without really training, jumping out of a plane, agreeing to go to Vegas with my parents, etc). Later that night we celebrated with cupcakes and carrot cake and sang Happy Birthday twice, which is a family tradition (one birthday wish just isn’t enough!).
My niece loved the beach! We built sand castles, which really just resembled sand mountains, and chanted, “fortify the castle” every time we made a trip for more water. We jumped waves, giggled ridiculously when the ocean splashed us, and listened to the lifeguards (that’s the rules). My aunt got us/Veda bubbles, and by the end of playtime Bubble Headquarters (me) was drenched in a sticky, soapy, grape-smelling goo. My brother was most worried, that Veda would go destructo on another kid’s sandcastle, but instead she came up to my brother and asked, “Can I share my toys, Daddy? Pretty pretty please, can I share?” Kind of amazing.
My younger cousin was in town to celebrate birthday-week, and as I prepped for my surf lesson, we talked about my remaining Bucket List items and the likelihood that my surf instructor would be an 18-year-old bro rather than a 30-year-old stud. I hypothesized that I could be a surfing natural, and this first lesson may be the start of a new career as a professional surfer. Cowabunga!
On the way to the surf shop, I gave my mom specific instructions that she was not to bring up my bucket list in front of the surf instructor. Hard line. Applause to her, she didn’t.
Turned out my instructor, Adam, was not 18 (thank goodness!) and I don’t think he was ‘bro’ either. He grew up in OCNJ and went to college in CA. Now he’s a year-round instructor that spends the winters in Cali and the summers in OC. Oh, and he’s dreamy! Unfortunately, if I were to grant him a nickname it would be Slim, and that’s just not gonna work for me.
We wetsuit’d up, grabbed my board, and hit the beach with my mom/photographer trailing behind us. We did the standard on-sand practicing of the surfing pop-up motion, and I pretended to be confident that I could this.
The early September water felt amazing! Perfectly warm and free of the jellyfish babies that typically show up in August. The tide was low and the wind was off-shore so conditions weren’t ideal for a newbie, but I trusted Adam to pick the right waves and not send me into a nose-dive.
My first few attempts were failures; I popped up with the wrong lead foot, I got whacked in the head by the board, and my chic pony tail came undone. But eventually, I had success.
Adam yelled, “You gotta pop up,” and I flew to my feet! My shock and elation at actually surfing caused me to scream the whole ride. Woohoo, I did it!