After high school, I didn’t think that my lifelong dream of becoming a professional surfer should wait, even for the sake of college. I moved to Santa Monica and found a beat up, five fin surfboard named Bonzer on Craigslist. Every I day, biked twenty blocks to the beach, my board under one arm, navigating traffic with the other. I quickly befriended one of the parking-lot based surf schools, and helped them out a little during the summer. Here are a few facts that we’d never admit to a customer:
1) Finding a wetsuit for you is extremely awkward– Sorry, but we have to judge your appearance. With so many different body types and so few wetsuit sizes, it’s a miracle when the suit actually fits correctly. Nothing is more uncomfortable than the guy who’s too hefty for the biggest size. The most common sizes are usually wet and sandy from the previous lesson. Don’t worry though, your surfing won’t be inhibited by your body type- water sports are typically accommodating to all shapes and sizes.
2) You won’t learn to surf in just one lesson– We can show you the basic movements, but whether or not you start shredding anything but whitewater depends on your commitment to the sport. There is very little consistency in surfing, and you’ll need to practice in all different wave conditions.
3) We are all at the mercy of the ocean– Sure, we’ll help navigate your board through the waves, but there’s very little we can do when it comes crashing down and knocks us both to the hard sand bottom. When you take a nasty wipe out, we cringe and hope for the best. Nor can we protect you from sharks, jelly fish, or stingrays. To a shark, your wetsuit makes you look like a juicy seal. Fortunately, the odds are in your favor; that’s why the beach is so crowded on weekends.
4) We get hit in the face a lot– We boost you into the waves- it’s probably the only way you’ll catch them. If the feet don’t hit you, the board does. And we live in perpetual fear of getting strangled by the leash.
5) We get jaded– The ocean is always changing, but our routines aren’t. We size up the wetsuits, go through the beach procedure, and enthusiastically push you into wave after wave. The soggy, sandy, coldness of the job can be exhausting. It doesn’t take more than a sunset of brilliant colors, though, to revive the much deserved appreciation for the natural wonders that are large bodies of water.