Our beach trip reminded me of many previous beachy engagements.
Hawaii is a lush and stunning paradise. Admittedly, traveling to Hawaii was much faster when I lived in Seattle. I conveniently let geography become meaningless until I went with friends and about 4 hours into the flight from Atlanta, we were reminded we only had 5 more hours until we landed. 9 hours on any flight is not good for my mojo. However, the destination would far outweigh the journey so I kept that frown upside down and couldn’t wait to spend a gorgeous week in such a lush and vibrant location.
And it would be my first surfing attempt. Laird Hamilton makes it looks so easy but I knew I was a beginner. And what better place to learn?
Or, what I should say, what better place to attempt repeatedly in vain to master yet never, ever do so?
Friends and I stand close to shore to get comfortable. We then practice paddling and jumping on the board. There is a method to it. I know this instinctively, but it is also reinforced when I hear a voice behind me claim, “You are doing it wrong.” I turn to face the most darling combination of blue eyes and blond hair…and a little sprite not a day over 10 years old.
I laughed because of the abundance of obvious truth in his statement. And then he offers to show us. Perfect. I am not too sassy to refuse cues from whatever source is available. So this little bean sprout proceeds to show me the appropriate way to jump up on the board. And it worked. Getting up = easy. Staying up? Well, a bit more challenging. And by challenging I am implying I don't really know the answer but I do know it's fun to get douched in the face multiple times to the squealing laughter of your 10 year old proctor.
But because I am competitive, and have played sports my entire life, I want to prevail. I opt to continue my attempts which result in a face off. With the OCEAN. Excellent choice for a battle opponent. And one that will quash you, in all your eager and giddy surfboard medalist dreams. Time and again. Without mercy. After multiple dismal attempts to actually travel on the board, his little sister and Mom join the coaching pool. I eventually traverse across about twenty feet of water and in my jubilance of small victories, I do not maintain my pose but instead stand upright shouting “This is *&$#!$@ fantastic!” which causes me to lose balance, and topple into the water. To have my tiny teacher say, "You aren't supposed to do that."
Really? I can't hear you because my ears are full of water.
If I am flummoxed by lightly rippling water, than I shall never graduate to actually waves or a "cool" surfboard. And going near swells, well, its out of the question. And racing down the beach in my red bikini saving lives? Not quite.
I fought the ocean, and the ocean won.