10 August 2008

A Day of Surfing Firsts

Yesterday was hands-down the best day of surfing I've ever had. The waves weren't epic or anything, but the day was. I felt almost like I'd gone on vacation. Granted, I was still in Southern California. We had to wait in line for about an hour before we could even gain entrance to the break. None of that mattered or detracted from my day of surfing firsts (which I will list).

1. First time I've ever stayed at the beach longer than a few hours to surf.

I'd never ever had a leisurely and relaxing surf day at the beach before yesterday. My sessions always revolve around my watch or my concern about being needed by my men (or my mom or my job). Therefore, I've never surfed with total freedom. Yesterday was my first day for that. And let me tell you that there will be much more of it now that I've gotten a taste of that freedom.

2. First time ever having two people I don't know address me as "Surfsister".

Not long after we got to the break, a man approached me. "Aren't you Surfsister?" Doh! I'm always a little taken aback when someone connects my nom de plume with, well, me. But he did. I never quite know what to say or do in those cases. He was very nice, telling me he was Puttzle's friend and one of the contributors to San O Daze. A few hours later, someone else walked up and addressed me as "Surfsister," having been sent to find me by the first guy. It's kind of amazing. I'm always shocked that people know who I am. But really, if you see a black chick with dreadlocks at a surf spot, it's more than likely going to be me.

3. First time doing a double session.

I think I surfed for about two and a half hours before dragging myself in. I was all surfed out. I came in, ate, sat in the sun (since I was cold) and said I was done. Then, others said they were going back out. I kept telling myself I wouldn't. For one thing, I have a hard time working out with food in my stomach, especially when the workout involves lying on one's stomach. I looked at the water and still saw surfable waves. I was definitely tempted. So I watched. Then I told myself that if one person in our group caught something, I'd go back out, full stomach and all. It wasn't long before I saw someone going down the line. I told the men I was going out for one more wave. Okay, I lied. I got that first wave and paddled back out. I got about three waves before I finally had to admit defeat. My arms and shoulders were fine. My stomach was too through. Much to my surprise, others were right behind me. They were either too tired or too full to stay out any longer.

4. First time doing a day of surfing with a crew of folks.

The three of us brought food. We ate very little of it. By the time the crew broke out the awning, the hammock, the chairs, the camping stoves and the smorgasbord of food, I certainly had no interest in my little chicken salad. Who wants a cold sandwich when people are handing you freshly made tacos? Now that's how you hang out for the day.

5. First time doing more cheater fives than I could count.

I'm beginning to feel comfortable at the front third of my board. I'm not sure what that's about but I won't fight the feeling.

6. First time my spouse was attitude-free while hanging at the beach while I surfed.

Who knew it was possible?


There will be blood.

Some time ago I talked about being summarily dismissed by one of the two "Stealers of the Stoke" in my circle of surfing friends. It's the second one who will be pissed off by my little day trip. This person is someone who, in the past, was incredibly possessive of my time and my attention with regard to surfing. I was expected to call her every time I went out. She would get mad if I surfed with others. It's a strange relationship that we have. Anyway, she kicked me to the curb for going to San O without her a few years ago. Whatever. I don't believe that people who aren't related to you have the right to place demands on your time. I've already got a husband, child, parent and dog whose demands I must meet (as does anyone else with family commitments). I will not give that kind of attention to other people on a consistent basis. I don't have it in me to be that giving emotionally.

Anyway, she stopped speaking to me for not calling her every time I went surfing or for not giving her enough notice as to when I was going surfing. What? She never heard of one's spouse granting a last-minute surf pass? I was summarily dismissed from the friendship. Fine. Then, out of the blue some months later, I saw her in the water. She said she missed surfing with me. Then she started calling again to surf. Having been raised with too much courtesy, I didn't know how to say I didn't want to surf with her anymore (or continue the friendship).

Fast forward to the present. Right before my injury in June, she'd been on me to make a day trip to surf. I wasn't keen to be stuck in a car with her for hours and was noncommittal. Then I got hurt and that pretty much ended the discussion. Well, a few weeks ago while in the water with her, someone paddled up and invited me to go on a day trip to the break in question. She (Stealer of the Stoke #2) immediately told that person she wanted to go. Apparently, she's been on other day trips with this crew in the past. I, on the other hand, said I probably couldn't go given my spouse's recent surgery and my belief that I would not get a surf pass for the day.

Oh, it gets better. Last week, someone else told me she and a group were going on a day trip. Again, I was invited. After a few days of thinking about, I decided I was going. Period. I didn't care who liked it. The men could stay home. I just needed some time to recharge my battery, time when I could surf in peace and not worry about anyone else. So, I didn't bother to alert Stealer of the Stoke #2. I just wanted to surf and be left alone. Well, as we drove south, it hit me that the person who told me about the trip the first time was part of the group I was meeting (even though I hadn't seen her since she talked to me in the water). I spent much of the trip down wondering if I was going to see SoS#2 once we got there and whether she'd flip out because I'd obviously decided to come down without calling her.

Okay, she wasn't there. Good. But there will be blood. The folks in the group will see her or see us in the water. I can hear it now. Wasn't San O great? SoS#2, why didn't you come down? I'm the type of person who, when there was something to which I was either not invited or didn't know about, doesn't take it as an affront. Perhaps there's something wrong with me because I don't feel slighted or overlooked. I really don't want other people to feel like I'm their responsibility. SoS#2 makes me feel like I have to be her keeper or something. Perhaps I should talk to her about it. After the first time she flipped out, I've stopped talking. I just surf. When she calls, I make an effort to surf with her. And she's picked up on the fact that I won't surf with her every day. (Yes, in the past she expected me to surf with her every fricking day!")

Will it have been worth it for the best day of surfing ever? Hell, yeah!


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