During orientation from Justin, a very brown and fit combination standup comic, motivational speaker and surfer dude, we were informed we were all going to “do great,” or “awesome” and would be driving to a different surf location, which sounded to me like the spot where Megan and I saw giant waves a couple days earlier.
We were also advised that if we needed to exit our surf boards, we could not go straight in the water because we were surfing over a reef and it was not deep enough to accommodate long limbs pointing straight down (such as mine).
I also had not really understood that there is a significant wave breaking zone where one must paddle to beat hell and not stop for fear of getting “thrashed” – which is a term I would become directly familiar with, and involves repeating cycles of getting pounded, and vigorously rolled a bunch of times, finding the direction of up and starting over.
Paddling must be done on the board in what is much like locust position in yoga. This requires holding one’s upper body up off the board while paddling. And breathing. What is different from locust in a surfing context is that you also have to paddle to beat hell, do a quick pushup maneuver to avoid getting pummeled when a wave comes, and are very far from being on a mat on a level floor with a soothing voice telling you to be in the moment.
It was hard being told that we would “all do awesome,” and strongly suspecting I would do otherwise.
I was with three other students. I was at least 20 years older than the next oldest guy, who came from North Carolina, and probably equivalent to the combined ages of the Swedish couple.
If there was a Group W bench for surfing, that’s where I was headed. (See Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie.)