No longer a Jersey virgin
This weekend, I lost my New Jersey virginity.
I've been to my neighboring state before. Well, through the state. Well, to the airport. To drop my kid off at camp. To go to Ikea. Stuff like that. But never with surfing in mind.
I drove three hours this weekend to get to the Jersey shore. Ocean City. It's a nice town, much like other beach towns. The beach is much like other beaches. I dunno. I walked past what's billed in one book as the best wave in all of Jersey and it didn't look all that impressive. I didn't see that the waves were so much better than in New York, leastways not on those days (Sunday and Monday).
But then, what the hell do I know. I drove three hours only to suck as badly as I can by walking for three minutes (or less).
I wish I could say I have surfed Jersey, but that's not the case. Not yet. The first day, I was out for an hour and a half, and was just starting to get the hang of the wave (as well as getting worked pretty well) when it got dark and I had to come in. I didn't get any rides, but I caught some waves. The following day, I didn't realize that the wind would come up in the afternoon the way it does at home. I was waiting for the tide to fill in, but by the time that happened the wind killed it. I had one of the most miserable, coldest (you're always colder when you're miserable, right, or is it the other way around) sessions in memory. It wasn't just that the conditions turned sucky. Even or especially under the best of conditions, it was clear the local boys were not going to let me have a wave. Not one. No way. No stinkeye, nothing like that; just, no waves for you.
While sitting out there in that crowd freezing my ass off and not doing much else I had plenty of time to compose my List of the Top Ten Things I Hate Most About Trying to Surf:
1) The sheer built in Catch 22 impossibility of it: You can't get a wave unless you're good, and you can't get good unless you get waves.
2) Getting hurt.
3) Getting cold.
4) The type of surfer (not uncommon) who thinks surfing makes him/her part of some master race and who looks down on, harrasses, or worse, people who can't surf. Anyone who uses "kook" as an epithet.
5) The flip side of aloha ("We love you unconditionally and forever because you're like us"):
"We hate you unconditionally and forever because you're not like us." Can you have one without the other?
6) Not wiping out, but the exhaustion that comes from being wiped out, the headachey tiredness that pervades your every muscle and cell. It's different from the fatigue of using your muscles long and hard (which I never get because I never use them.)
7) Putting on a wet wetsuit on a freezing cold morning.
8) That I don't know enough to ever know for sure whether it's the waves or it's me.
9) That I didn't start trying 30 years ago.
(OK, that's only nine. Can anyone think of one more?)
And yeah, I can think of as many things I love. Just not in the mood for it right now.