06 December 2009

The Goodness of a Handplane

I love the ocean and I've reached a point in my life where I can't get enough of it. Perhaps it's because I spent so little time getting to know it as a kid. I couldn't swim and, being a typical black female, I was hesitant to get near water because of what it would do to painstakingly straightened hair. That was then. This is now. I'm a middle aged black chick who swims like a fish and only worries about whether my hair will get in my eyes while I'm in the water. Whatever it was that held me back years ago is no longer a part of my reality.

I'm drawn to the ocean. I go to the ocean even when I'm not going to get wet. I'm happy to simply watch it in amazement of all of its glory.

Since I already surf in the ocean, mat in the ocean and swim in the ocean, I thought it was about time to start bodysurfing in the ocean. The thing is this . . . I have no idea how to bodysurf. Most of my friends who bodysurf learned as kids, kids who grew up spending summer days at the beach. Of course, those friends also grew up swimming and surfing. Nevertheless, I'm thinking it won't be too hard for me to pick it up given my new status as a "water lilly" (which is what my spouse has taken to calling me over the last few years).

So, I had Brownfish make me one of his beautiful handplanes. I love the idea of having yet another ocean-based activity to do on those days when I don't surf, mat or swim.

When I surfed on Friday, I went leashless. There are two reasons for that. First, the my knee leash tugs right on the new joint to the point of being painful. Second, I don't mind swimming for my board. It gives me a chance to play in the water. On that day, I was surfing a beachbreak that was delivering either the mushiest waves in the world or closeouts. I lost my board after one closeout. While swimming in to get it, I did my usual attempt at bodysurfing. Since I don't know what I'm doing, I normally fail miserably. This time, I did not. I'm not sure what I did right, but when I went to surf the wave, I felt my body catch—much like I feel my board catch when I realize it's time to pop-up. For once, I wasn't left with that sinking, tumbling feeling you get when you're hit from behind by a wave. I remained streamlined, sliding along in some kind of pocket of perfection (on the part of the wave, not me).

Oh yeah, I'm going to put this handplane to good use. When I finally reached my board, all I could think was how nice that ride would have been with a handplane. Thanks, Brownfish, for the hooking me up with yet another waveriding craft.

(I'd like to give a quick shout out to the dog for allowing me to use his chewed up, holey blanket as the backdrop for this shot. Much love, Oxley!)


At 12/7/09, 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

many toys for many pleasures! Get that mat in the water before the Lifeguards arrive and then move on to the boards and handplane!

At 12/15/09, 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog so much. I'm so interestd in the surfmat, wanting to relive my youthful days in Hermosa Beach on the old mats. What a blast they were for us kids! Also am an old time woman bodysurfer - glad you caught your first wave - it is such a rush! This past summer I enjoyed watching my 9 year old catching his first body surfing wave - he was so excited! Keep having fun!


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