I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends
That's how I felt after my session on Sunday. Whiff offered a helping hand to get me on the Merrick and I took it. Of course, it meant I had to be in the water at 6:15 a.m. on a Sunday, but it was well worth it. When I went to check the surf, I saw three silhouettes out there in the water. Those three turned out to be Whiff, BBD, and Whiff's friend (whose name I never got). Upon paddling out, I was already cursing the fact that I wasn't on the Slick or the Tyler or any other board over nine feet long. I am completely comfortable on a longboard. Regardless of what people say or how people try to pigeonhole surfers by the length of their surfboards, I am quite content to be viewed as a longboarder. Nevertheless, I think it behooves all of us who surf to at least try other types of boards, even if we don't stick with them. So, I paddle out and I'm already thinking I should give up, go back to the car, and grab my Slick. But, no, I went out there to try to get a handle on that board. I wanted help. And help was sitting right there.
First things first, Whiff's new board is perfect for him. I'm sure most people would not have guessed it was his first day on that board. Every time I looked up, he was up and riding. BBD was also on a board that was new to him. He, too, was up and riding every time I turned around. Whiff will be completely dialed in with his Fugly board in no time. You could already see that on Sunday.
My thoughts about my board? Well, I like it. It's, as Monty Python might say, something completely different so my confidence in the water was close to non-existent. I didn't know which waves I should paddle for. I didn't know where I should be in the board. I felt lost out there. But, Whiff gingerly began to offer advice (which I appreciated). Then his friend, the one whose name I didn't catch, began to offer a lot of advice. At one point, that guy caught me paddling for a longboard wave and yelled, "Stop!" He told me what kind of waves to look for on a shortboard and when to paddle for them. (At one point, he even told me I should try Whiff's board. I wasn't having that—too new and too short.) The whole session is kind of a blur. Whiff and BBD eventually paddled down to a peak that was working well. I chose not to follow. I wanted room to crash and burn. Of course, in the end it didn't matter since the place got packed and I barely had room to move anyway. What Whiff doesn't know is that I got about four or five waves during the session. He saw the first one. I'm still laughing about that one. My back foot was hardly on the board. I think it was looking for the two feet of extra board that's normally beneath me. Each wave I caught was better than the previous one. And what was cool was even though Whiff was no longer there to give me tips, other guys were. One guy paddled by and said something about always seeing me on a longboard. When I explained I wanted to try something new in an effort to be an even better surfer, he commended me and told me not to give up even if the transition was difficult. Then another guy paddled up a few minutes after that and talked me into a wave or two. The board will eventually be too long for me. I know that. For right now, it's perfect. It's making the transition to shorter boards an easy one. I don't feel like I need to bring a longboard with me on my next session (unless the waves are ankle biters). I'm happy to stay on the Merrick and keep learning.