Friday, November 4, 2011

Hang Ten.

Ah, surfing. How I've missed you.

My first experience riding the waves was last summer -- when we came down to this very spot to learn how to do just that. I might have done this before, but I'm still learning...

As a kindergarten teacher, I've always believed strongly in the power of positive reinforcement. When you're teaching a child something new, it's so essential to celebrate the small victories. I will never forget some of the faces my kids would make when they would feel successful -- you've never seen a bigger grin. I guess it's been awhile since I've really felt like I was learning something new...but today I couldn't help but be struck by how much I was acting like a 5-year old. Every time I caught a wave, I felt the need to make sure somebody saw me. When our surf instructor, Mauricio, would give me a thumbs up after riding all the way into shore, I smiled just like a kindergartner who just got a sticker for sounding out a new word.

The waves here will totally kick you in the face. For as many times as I'd managed to surf a wave, I also spent lots of my time swallowing salt water and falling off the board. There's something kinda glorious about actually being able to stand up and ride a wave into shore...but for all that glory, you've kinda gotta get beat up first. I have never inhaled so much salt water in my life.

Throughout my childhood, I wore a life jacket. Always. My sweet father first. He also made us wear helmets when we'd go on pony rides at the fair, and as a kid, I always deemed things like helmets and life jackets so not cool. But I wore 'em anyway. So maybe I love surfing because I am in the water and yet I'm not wearing a life jacket. (Don't worry dad, it's safe.) There's just something freeing about it, since the water literally carries you...when you successfully stand up on the board, that is.

Surf's up. Yeeeee haw. 

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