I had a great father’s day at the beach with Linda and Gina. I’ve got this short board from the 70’s that I found a garage sale a few years ago. It had a broken nose, with a crappy glass repair job. I chipped off the glass and replaced it with duct tape, and its holding up fine.
When I was younger, age 14, I surfed in my Honolulu neighborhood at least 4 times a week for the year prior to our move to the mainland, and I was pretty competent.
Memory’s a funny thing, but I have extremely vivid recollection of two very specific waves I caught at that age. One was on the long board when I was just starting out, and I was on the lip of a 6-7 footer, on my feet, staring down at the drop, and I was certain I was doomed to tumble to the bottom and take a beating. But I didn’t; I fell down the face of that wave, but kept my footing, leaned my weight back to keep the nose out of the trough, and pulled the board under control (and at extremely high speed) back up to the middle of the face going left and shot through to the channel about 20 yards away, all the while whooping and hollering!!. That ride was a turning point in my surfing development.
The second ride was on my radical new short board (this was 1969), and it was a little smaller wave, but breaking perfectly to the right like something out of Endless Summer. I carved that wave from the top to the bottom several times in a row, tracing an S curve for at least 8 permutations. I can still remember the vertigo, the salt spray, the sunshine, the exhilaration, the tide levels, the exact look and feel of those two waves. And I remember well the quarter mile paddle it took to get out to our little known spot at the edge of the reef where the Pacific swells rose out of the blue ocean and crashed for us kids. [google aerial of location]
But here in Florida in my 50’s, I found that I really can’t stand and ride. My short board is a little squirrelly, the waves are so brief, and I do not have the balance. So I still ride waves, but I’ve given up trying to stand. I’ll get to my knees most of the time, and it looks pretty lame, but I have fun and I don’t care.
Gina’s gotten pretty good at wave selection and position with the boogie board. She can even paddle into a wave without pushing off the bottom, and she knows to aim for the pocket and how to get maximum speed out of a ride. We spent a couple of hours at Playalinda beach yesterday out in the water. As the tide retreated, the waves began to break on the third outside sandbar. And they were breaking bigger and bigger and more consistently as we watched. So late in the afternoon, we decided to paddle out and try them. It was quite a bit further than it appeared from the beach. And I was beat. My arms ached, my abs were complaining, and it took effort to hold my head up while paddling. I figured I was good for one wave. Champion rower and Ms. upper-body-strength Gina was doing much better, although it was a little scary being so far from shore. Even though we were over the sandbar, it was still too deep to stand, and it was hard to keep our bearings between the sets and get positioned in the right place. But we eventually did get into position. The next big set, Gina paddled into a fine wave and disappeared from my view. The waves were breaking for about 25 yards or so and she rode it out into the deep trough between the sandbar and the beach. I caught the next one, and truth to tell, I was too pooped to even get to my knees, or attempt anything fancy. But it was a big fast wave, and I rode it in to catch up with Gina. We turned and paddled back in to the beach, riding again across the 2nd sandbar, and then wading across the first bar until we were back on land.
That evening we had dinner with the P’s and recounted the days activities. It was SOOOOOOOOOOO TOUGH out there!!!!
Check back; vintage picture coming soon.