Yesterday was a great day for all as Clan Ross hit the beach.
It started at Seaside Surf Shop, where I signed up for a surf lesson. The price wasn’t too bad for a 3-hour group session with some instruction and equipment rental, and in hindsight the lesson is a good thing to have when first paddling out into the surf for a couple of reasons:
- The instructor will cover some basic safety regarding how the board acts in water, what to do when you eat it (cover your head);
- the instructor will take you to a safe, easy place that’s good for beginning surfers;
- the instructor will do their best to help you catch some waves, and
- they might even explain to you how waves work.
As it turns out, that black cable wrapped around the tail of the board was not an FM antenna. 😉
The guy who was patient enough to teach me to surf was named Laird. He’s been around, to California, Hawaii, and Mexico; he’s surfed in those locations, and I’m sure that he’s surfed in other places as well. I did mention I paid for the group session, and at the time it looked like I would be the only one (a cheaper way to get a private lesson, for sure) but there ended up being two of us — a guy from British Columbia, originally from Colombia (in retrospect, I may have misunderstood that part) named Ruben.
Rob and Ruben: now that’s interesting. 🙂
We followed Laird in our cars to a parking lot about twenty minutes south of Seaside, and then carried our boards on a ten-minute walk through an old-growth forest path reminiscent of Jurassic Park, or the Mirkwood; the trees were big and jumbled, with blankets of bright green moss hanging from their branches. We found the end of the path in a little southwest-facing cove with a sandy bottom; clouds of mist rolled down from the treetops, and here the sky was a bit more clear. Mme. Ross and Little Miss were there too — they played in the sand while I made my first ever real foray out into the ocean. Once the daughter was ready to pass out from sheer exhaustion and bliss, Mme. Ross packed her into the Ergo and started taking pictures and videos.
We were out there for about two hours, and while my phone (her first choice for documenting the adventure) died almost right away because the wind was blowing a little too hard, Mme. Ross plugged away with her Nikon (thank you Paul Simon) until its battery gave the old heave-ho.
So how did I do? Let’s put it this way: I had fun. I’m hooked. But I have to admit I’m a tad jealous of Ruben because he managed to stand up on a few waves. I had problems committing to the pop-up at first, and then by the time I was ready to do so I had already worn down some, and lacked the power to jump into the crouching surf position. Plus the rental wetsuit was super-tight, and I wonder if it wasn’t restricting my movement somewhat.
But here’s my insight on wetsuit surfing in cold water: it’s a friggin’ miracle. You know how you get into cold water and you just want to jump right out because it’s so cold on your skin? Or maybe you’re the kind who has to go in stages, or just get it over with? When you’re wearing a wetsuit you go out there and it feels like a waterproof barrier you’re wearing. You’re not cold at all. As the water leaks through the porous neoprene, your body heats it up so fast that you never feel cold, and when the cold water hits your face it’s insignificant compared to trying to get your body into that water. The verdict: wetsuits + cold water = fearless surfing. I love it.
The biggest rush, though, is when you see that wave coming; it’s bearing down on you and you’re trying to time it. You start paddling, trying to go fast and still do long strokes, because you want to be ahead of it when it picks you up, sucks you back, and then shoots you forward like a rocket. The Then you grab the rails (the sides of the surfboard) and you jump your feet up to this stance (and this is why we do power yoga, right?) Holding your balance, with your weight mostly on the front foot, you stand up with knees bent; Warrior One — or drop your arms, if you have “balance supreme”.
I’ll be honest, I ate it every time except one time when I rode the wave all the way in on one knee. Still, it’s incredible fun, and a physical challenge that can’t be topped; by the time you’re starting to think about retiring, it’s a little bit of a challenge to get on top of the board in chin-high water. I want to go again today, but it’s questionable as to whether we will have the chance — more likely tomorrow.
Day 2 in Seaside looks to be a little more chill; Mme. Ross wants to get out of the rental, and so do I; the only question is what to do today: go down to Cannon Beach and take pictures? Check out the Aquarium? The Carousel Mall? Drive fifteen minutes north to Astoria and see what’s up there?
No matter what we do, I know it will be an adventure;
but surfing would be better.
If you’d like to see some pictures, I picked the best of the best (I’m on a time crunch now) and uploaded them to a fresh Flickr album: Surfing in the Cove.
Love love love it!! Read this whole post with a smile on my face, so glad you finally got to surf!!
Tell Mme Ross, great pictures, she has an eye for it. Lets hope there are many more lazy days of surfing for you 🙂
Whoot! Whoot!!!! Congrats on you first session! So excited for you, loved reading about it! Sounds like a great place to surf…I have in-laws in Portland…so I am adding your spot to my surf “wish list”. Keep going! You’ll get it!
Thank you! 🙂
I can only say that the Astoria Column is worth a visit. There used to be this diner in Astoria that was chef quality. I found it for you: http://columbianvoodoo.com/cafe/ GO. JUST. GO.
The Lewis and Clark park across the bridge in Washington is awesome. Fort Clatsop burned to the ground several years ago, so whatever’s there is a rebuild.
I’m glad you liked surfing. Keep posting. 🙂
Funny, we’re going to Astoria tomorrow night — now I know where we are having dinner. 🙂
Oh and did you see the pic of the Rotary Cafe sign? I took it
Because it made me think of you. 😀
I hope it’s still as good as I remember. It’s been almost 10 years since we were there. The chef made gourmet meals on the flat diner griddle. He was from New Orleans, and he was quite a storyteller. Please let me know what you think.
Sounds like great fun, I’ve always wanted to try surfing 🙂
It’s easy to do, but a challenge to do well; I wholeheartedly recommend it if you have the means! 🙂
Whoo hoo! Awesome and brilliant and truly wonderful.
It is so clear that you are having a blast – not only on the surfing end of things – but generally – and that is amazing!
Love the arm-chair vacation I get to share by your images and posts. 🙂
Enjoy and create timeless memories – treasured.
Thanks Pat, I’m glad you’re enjoying the ride. 🙂
I’m glad you’re enjoying your second view of the Pacific Ocean! Now I really can’t wait until y’all come down here (the water is warmer, btw)!
Oh yeah, and I can’t wait because I won’t need a wetsuit — just a longboard and a leash.
You might still want a wetsuit. All depends upon when y’all come out.
SoCal? I guess we will find out, huh?
Whoa hey, I didn’t realize you were on Flickr! Coming over there to add you right now!
Make sure I know who you are if I won’t recognize your username — I just started uploading recently.
I made my account a family one– “jaklumen & family”. You won’t have too much trouble recognizing us, I hope. Cimmorene’s account is under an old Yahoo username, though: “sitori6”, although I still refer to her as Cimmorene or Cimmy.