#14. I Went Surfing & Surprise! It Wasn’t Easy.

Don't die....don't die don't die don't diiiiieeeee.
Don’t die….don’t die don’t die don’t diiiiieeeee.

Signs you’re getting older: Going to a wedding in San Diego and scheduling something the day of the wedding (read: the morning after the groom’s dinner) at 8 am. Signs you’re not that old: The thing you scheduled is surfing.

Most of my biggest fears involve water.

It think it stems from my father subjecting my brother to Jaws the night before our first swimming lesson (true story for a different time). It was funny, Dad, but not cool! Okay, it was kinda cool, but not for us kids.

My first swim lesson was probably the same year this awesome video game came out. 
My first swim lesson was probably the same year this awesome video game came out.

Anyhow, when the Joshster suggested we try surfing while in a Whale’s Vagina, CA , I was so not into it.

First, ocean… great to look at, but not my favorite to swim in. Second, big waves… uh-oh. Third, the group we were wedding-ing with likes to stay up late drinking craft beer… so no me gusta early mornings.

That’s three reasons to not go surfing….

Also known as three reasons why Eleanor would say I should go.

So off to Mission Beach we went. Bonus: my dad joined us at the last minute, because he’s impulsive like that.

We met our instructors Kevin & Rich on the beach, where they helped zip us like sausages into wet suits, then showed us a bunch of ways to get up on a surf board. We practiced a few times on the sand (so easy!), then got into the water and tried it for real (so hard!). The waves were pretty intense, especially when I was paddling out. I was lamaze-breathing my face off with every wave. I made a few feeble attempts to catch anything, but after getting battered repeatedly by big scary waves, I finally got violently knocked off my surf board, plunging under the water for about three seconds longer than I was comfortable with.

I stumbled back to shore like a boozed up telenovela star, pissed off and cursing in Spanish with a head full of sea water. Not cool, ocean! Ok, kinda cool, but not for me.

Clearly, I did not want to go back in the water.

But I’m just stubborn enough to not quit. Surf guru Kevin helped get me back out there, where I’m pretty sure I did the equivalent of bumper bowling on a surf board. Kevin pushed me out to sea, but not too far. Then, we waited for a good roller and he gave me a pusheroo. With his training wheels firmly planted on the side of my board, I finally stood up and rode in.

I may’ve looked like a dork, but I felt like a rock star!

I did it! Kinda!
I did it! Kinda!

Some of my favorite photos from the morning, thanks to our new pals at Pacific Surf School.

Ugh, stop it Josh. You're too good. 
Ugh, stop it Josh. You’re too good.
How come he looks so damn cute?
How come he looks so damn cute?
Who says you can't teach an ol' dog new tricks?
Who says you can’t teach an ol’ dog new tricks?
Hang ten?
Hang ten?
It's like the Beach Boys, only there's a girl and we actually surfed.
It’s like the Beach Boys, only there’s a girl and we actually surfed.

* * *

I’m slowly but surely embracing my fear of water. SCUBA diving helped a lot. A few other water-based Hey Eleanors? The time I went to a bathhouse (I know!), the time I jumped into a lake during the coldest Minnesota winter on record, plus the time I did this really weird detox.

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