I’ve been working on a beginners guide to surfing, written from the point of view of a beginner…me, for an action sports website GrindTV and this is the first chapter. Check it out, there’s much more to come! :
*Disclaimer* I have never been or claimed to be extreme or alternative in any way. I generally can’t resist things that look like too much fun, and get around to them way after they’re cool. I grew up in a cave and had no knowledge of the outside world up until last week. And this is where the journey begins…
I decided that this year I was going to give surfing a try. Nothing inside of me would indicate that I would have any ability (naturally or otherwise) or knack for the sport, but it sounded like fun, and I live by the ocean…so it seemed to make sense.
Lesson 1: start today.
I’ve lived in southern California for nearly four years now and have barely stepped foot into the Pacific Ocean. I would later find out that this was a terrible mistake. For all the grains of sand that will eventually end up in my car/hair/bed – the experiences are more than worth it.
Lesson 2: make friends that you can borrow shit from.
Nothing keeps someone from trying something out like the lack of available equipment. Fortunately for surfers in southern California…for the most part all you really need is a giant floating board with fins glued to it (and a wet suit for half of the year…so hopefully you are REALLY close to your friends, because you’re going to get to know their bodily fluids intimately at this point).
For my 27th birthday I was finally able to convince one of my more experienced surfer friends to take me out to a little beach down the street called ‘El Porto’ just outside of Manhattan Beach. A small beach community founded in 1911 full of a handful of people and a section of oil refineries and a water processing plant. ‘El Porto’ means ‘The Port’ in Spanish.
It’s a small beach, nothing special, especially on this lazy Saturday afternoon, but apparently that is just perfect for someone like myself with absolutely no experience or skill. The perfect mix of zero d-bags to cause trouble, and absolutely no chicks to embarrass myself in front of, it’s a beginners playground!
*Tip* The wetsuit is a great idea…even on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May I thought I could handle the water, but after ten minutes even my doctor would have mistaken my balls for tonsils. Suck it up, you won’t look cool anyway.
Lesson 3: have fun
The idea on this first outing wasn’t to make a fool of Kelly Slater (although, I’m pretty sure if he were there I could have punked him hard….way hard…then stole his girlfriend and dropped her off ten blocks from her apartment just so she knew who she was dealing with and she could think about that as she walked home…in heels…that i taped to her feet). Anyway, the idea is just to get into the water, watch what other people are doing and try and stay alive. No surfer was any better after they died, that just isn’t the way it works. I got a couple of good goes at some waves, but never successfully caught one (except for that one time i stood up, but I don’t think anyone would consider that ‘surfing’…’floating for a moment’ is a better way to describe it). But I did get decent position on a wave and instead of fucking the whole thing up by awkwardly scrambling to my feet, I just sat back (literally, sat my ass right there on the board like i was watching tv) and just enjoyed the feeling of a free ride to shore.
That was it. I was finished. I scooped up the 8 foot foam costco board* and took to the beach.
*Tip* Now this may sound dumb, but the board i borrowed was probably the cheapest biggest board anyone has ever made…ever. It looks like a bath toy for baby Shaq. This thing is 8 feet long easily and bright blue foam rubber. I look like a clown out there, but I noticed some benefits of that board that I’ll discuss later. Let me just be happy with my success (or lack there of) at this point.
So that was surfing day 1. I went out there, got wet, got real tired, and then made an ass out of myself on the beach while catching some sweet late afternoon rays. I realized my balance is far less than superior and my arms are weaker than a flipper baby, but the feeling is all i was working toward, and with that I found the day to be a success.
*Tip* For those of you that actually get laid (not a thing I have to worry a whole lot about…not because I’m not cool or great looking or rich or anything like that….but…you know…i got too much uh…..you know…writing and business to attend to), girl on top for the next few days. Your arms and knees are gonna be feelin’ it from all that paddlin and board straddlin you’ll be doin while you’re out there. Besides, you won’t need to do any work once all the babes find out you’re a totally rad surfer dude now!
This isn’t my last time, I’ll be back for round #2 (I mean to say, I intend on getting back out there, now in the unfortunate circumstance that I get hit by a bus or eaten by a sea squid or something and this is my final testament to my lifestyle….disregard that last statement and just remember that i got laid….a lot! in fact i’m just going to go ahead and order up a headstone just in case…fill in the appropriate dates if you could be so kind…thanks)
**Let me know of any tips or tricks you’d like me to try and I’ll give them a shot and let you know how they worked (or didn’t)!