Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First fall session

I hate to say it, because I live for summer, but it's begun to feel more like fall already. The air is different, the light is different---it's like the world has shifted into another gear. Not to mention it's getting dark at seven p.m. And I suddenly feel like drinking red wine instead of vodka from the freezer.

I've been both looking forward to, and feeling sad about, the change. You know how your apartment feels when you've got all the windows closed for the first time in months---quiet, like something's missing? And how that feels strange for a while, and then not strange? Fall is all about the surfing, not the hanging out on the beach. I love both. I especially love them together.
It's hard to get used to just the surfing again.

But there is going to be one more weekend of summer weather, they say.

This past weekend it barely made seventy and no one was hanging out. A friend who'd promised to come out to the beach all summer finally made it to my house, only to find it was too chilly for her bikini.

Today felt like a fall session. I had my 3/2 on for the first time and I actually started to feel cold at the end of the session despite brilliant sun. The waves said fall, a notch bigger than they've been in a long time, but then failed to deliver the fun they seemed to promise. No popups happened today, I am absolutely certain. I got up using my knees and then had rides of no consequence. Additionally my timing was bad. I waited for low tide and ended up with the "after-school" crowd---teenage boys on shortboards, a bevy of them (a gaggle? a cockle? what do you call teenage boys on shortboards?) They are my absolute least favorite demographic to surf with. They don't yell at me but they don't give up any waves to old women either. And if there's one, there's a whole crowd of them sitting on the inside right in front of you.

I tried to make my way out of the crowd but it was crowded everywhere. I may hitch up my new surf rack to my bike tomorrow and try to find a saner spot. Everyone complains about summer crowds but fall can be just as bad.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The photographic evidence

Today I saw the photos one of the guys took of me trying to surf. I had thought I was having a good day and doing well that day. Ouch, the evidence says otherwise! Yeah, I did stand up on a wave (though looking at the picture a friend said "Where's the wave?" because it was so small as to appear nonexistent). But the pictures taken quickly in sequence tell the painful story of how I did it. It wasn't a popup, as I thought. Not at all. In the photos I take the runner's stance (which I have been told not to do for, oh, three years) and then---- I hate to say this but---
I stick my butt up into the air until it's pointing straight out and then up. Only then do I let go of the board with my hands. Yes, it looks as bad as it sounds. Then I gradually get up from being totally bent over at the waist. It looks like a caveman evolving the ability to walk upright.

And the funny thing is, in the last pictures where I'm standing, still slightly bent at the waist, I'm smiling because I think I'm surfing and doing well.

My feet don't pop. They never lose contact with the board. They just slide up.

Well, after so long and so much effort and hope, what can I say. Maybe my old knees are just never going to bend. They don't ever bend in anything I ever do in life, why would I think they would do so in surfing? They are too old, too arthritic, so worn out they barely function. I haven't really used them in nearly ten years. So then what? Is it OK to get up the way I get up if that's all I can do? And even if I don't care, what about how it looks? It's not only embarrassing to think about how I look, but it must be painful and/or hilarious to watch. Well, no wonder people laugh and call me names.

Did that popup I thought happened a while back really happen? Someone said they saw it. But there's no photographic evidence.

I "surf" like an old woman. Well, I am an old woman. Is that so bad? Is it a reason to quit? Maybe I should wear a wetsuit saying Give me a break, I'm doing great for my age and medical condition.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Taking the brakes off

Since that last fun day, much surfing has been obligatory. That is, going out not because the waves are fun or even particularly rideable, but because it's obligatory...as in, it's Labor Day, it's hot and sunny and there's nothing else to do, let's go surfing. Or, it's Sunday morning at eight o'clock, I woke up early so I'm going out, and Sunday morning surfing is as obligatory around here as Sunday morning Mass was for my Catholic mother.

Suffice it to say I've had some crap surfing and I totally blame the waves. They were days when I got little to nothing in the way of rides.

But today was fun. It was surely not as fun as it was projected to be, only two feet, but fun nonetheless. A whole bunch of people were out, lured by the hype, and it was a friendly crew.
A lot of them weren't getting rides at all and I was, even though many times I knew I hadn't done the popup and my rides weren't graceful.

But I was in the main pack with the better surfers and I don't think I got in anyone's way or took anyone's wave. (Or hit anyone.) I kept ending up near this one guy whose name I don't know but who I see all the time and we kept going for the same waves, but it seemed to work out. Once we both got it and went in different directions (though that was probably more him exercising control to make sure that happened than me).

Today I rode a long wave in front of D., who gave it to me (as he put it---all the waves around here belong to him) and urged me on. I'm so glad I didn't blow it, so glad it was good and he saw it. Then he gave me some feedback on how to do better. I've been feeling as if when I stand up on a wave I somehow put the brakes on, then have to take a second to figure out what to do to take them off (unlike D. and other surfers, who just get the wave and get going fast). D. says I need to bend from my knees, not my waist, and keep my back straight instead of leaning one way or another. I always listen to D. And I think he is really proud to see me doing better, since he gave me a surf lesson or two along the way.

Today I was listening to Belle and Sebastian as I was surfing, and that long wave really felt like dancing.

The water is as warm as it's been all year and summer is definitely not over, though Labor Day has passed and the summer madness will slowly be dying down. Though Grandma is a generous and not a mean spirited person, and all things considered this has been a spectacular summer, now that the season's officially done I'd just like to say one thing to a certain guy or two who has, over the summer, (to put it lightly) not been a gentleman: F*ck you. Yeah, if you think it's you (hint: your last name has four to five letters), you're right.