You’re Sayin’ The FBI’s Gonna Pay Me To Learn To Surf?

May 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

My very own Johnny Utah moment…

Although it wasn’t the FBI but QSW offering to teach me. Great! And if it weren’t for my 20 year fear of waves this would be an amazing, perfect opportunity but just because I share a star sign with Jesus it does not automatically mean that every Capricorn will have His ability to walk on water. Frankly just the idea made me want to throw up. Thinking about it made me want to barf, talking about it only made it worse.

When the morning of ‘Surf Day’ arrives I decide that I will at least do the land training out of politeness and so squeak myself into my man-sized wetsuit with its flabby straight waist but nice long legs and drag my board to the sand, glad that our teacher Tom isn’t a Keanu and so I might actually pay attention to what he is saying rather than stand there like a moron deafened by beauty, worrying about how unflattering this outfit is.

Paying attention is a double edge sword as what he is saying is ‘you surf right? No. Snowboard or skateboard? Oh, you hold yourself like you do because it’s harder when you are tall…. you’re a natural then…’

No just a total method acting faker as in my head I’m Johnny Utah.

A few pop-up trials and sand paddling later and Tom announces that he will be taking us into the sea at which point I sit down quicker than a kid playing musical chairs for Barbies.

Everyone goes in, leaving just me and our driver (who also shared something with The Son Of God: his name) on the beach. Jesus tells me that it’s a shame I’m frightened ‘because the teacher is right you look like a natural’.

I’m getting hot, sitting on Malibu sand at midday in black neoprene is not pleasant and now listening to Jesus is making my head hot too. I still felt sick but find myself heading to the sea muttering to myself that ‘this is pathetic’. Tom calls out for me to stop and catches me at water’s edge to say that he is swapping my board for a body one as he now knows of my fear and thinks that I could at least mock-up my pictures with a smaller board ‘which won’t be so hard to handle if the waves catch it’.

By the time he has found the board I’m in the water still fuming with myself, mumbling about ‘stupid bloody pictures..’ and frowning so much I’m giving myself lines, with no thought I go to lie down. Tom shouts from the sand telling me to stop again and runs back to the van returning with a massive long board ‘OK then if you are so determind to get on hop on this, we’ll take it nice and slow through the waves. The dead weight you’ll feel on the back is me, I’ll keep you steady. If you can, lift your upper body up off the board as we go in to the waves. If you can’t leave the board just push your head through and under the water. Always watch your neck. How are you feeling?’

‘Sick.  And weirdly angry. You have no idea how petrified I am and being told to put my head under the water is not helping… oh, and I really need to wee…’ weeing in a wetsuit keeps you warm I’m told so I’m at least getting one thing right.

Fingers glued in fear to the sides Tom turns the board and slowly we coast in. Someone says that we should try that again. That someone is me and I’m not quite sure where my voice comes from.

The sea is flat so I sit wide-legged on the board to watch dolphins, pelicans and a sea lion pass me. Relaxing it feels like a set-up, WTF is this? Surely not: Welcome to Sea World, Kid. And I laugh.

By my 3rd go Tom turns me to wait for a wave and suddenly is asking what I’m doing ‘Errrmmm… I think it’s called popping up’ and to shouts of POP UP POP UP I’m up on the board and only come off when I beach myself.

Paddling ankle deep next to me Tom goes to give me a high-five and gets a rather surprised hug.

The girls on the beach are whooping and Mel tells me that she wanted to shed a tear and at that point I want to cry too.

And, that’s it…. I’m hooked. I’m on the board, off the board, hit by waves, under water: nothing matters, I just get back up and back out. I’m buzzing so much that my entire body feels like it’s giggling with pride. With Quiksilver Tom standing by shouting encouragement I don’t want to get out. My arms ache from pushing up, I’ve grazed my left foot on the ocean floor and better: my face aches from smiling.

So, should you ever ask me what my thoughts are on Quiksilver Women don’t be shocked or amused if I tell you that ‘QSW changed my life’ because it just may have.

Vaya con Dios, Brah.


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