T-minus two hours till I’m headed to Long Beach for the second surf lesson of the weekend. Nice to be booked the last weekend in November! Yesterday’s lesson saw amazing conditions. Once I again I was transported nostalgically back to my many years in California - water in the mid-50s, air in the low 60s, clear blue/green water, and not a soul in sight. The waves were one foot longboard perfection. My pupil, M., had no expectations other than to get to feel comfortable on a surfboard. It was her first time ever. So amazing how many muscles are used (that people don’t even know they have) in order to just keep oneself balanced in the middle of the board while paddling. For those of us for whom laying on a surfboard is second nature it’s all unconscious - that is until you begin to teach and then your student makes apparent to you all of these tiny things you’ve mastered over the years that are really quite difficult for a beginner. M., like a lot of people, got out the back fine, but then when it came to sitting on the board and maneuvering it, it looked like she was wrangling a bull. After many capsized efforts she finally tamed the beast and started looking comfortable. There was a slight eastward current, which meant that she also had to paddle west quite often, and this knackered her about an hour into the session. But she was all smiles. It was such a gorgeous day and we were pinching ourselves that we were just a forty minute drive away from Manhattan.
M. met her goal for the day and I managed to snag a few knee high spinners all the way across the beach. The amount of time it takes for me to catch a wave in a lesson and make it out the back to my student is about 30 seconds. With no one out in the water, they need to see an example of surfing, and who better to provide this than yours truly? Exactly. (Disclaimer: I am not “surfing” during the lesson. As I mentioned in a previous post, when I “surf” for myself I do not talk, let alone sit out the back patiently guiding a person in their paddling skills, board control skills, and wave judgment. In a lesson I catch about 5 waves in an hour. In a real surf I’d catch about 30 - especially on a longboard in knee high surf.) M. called it a day after three whiter waters and then we lugged the longboards up the white sands and proceeded to the bimmer’s trunk to de-neoprene and re-clothe. M. remarked that the wetsuit bit is it’s own part of the lesson. I laughed and agreed - it truly is. Wetsuit entrance and exit is another one of those little skills us lifers take for granted until we have to help someone else.
The drive back was quick and painless. My little N. Conduit to Atlantic to Eastern Pkwy to Flatbush over the Manhattan Bridge route is almost fool proof - this is also because I never drive it at rush hour. We had a nice chat about the importance of patience and I told some stories about Moss Landing back in the day - the tribal nature of it all (M. studied anthropology and is interested in surfing from that perspective - she was actually worried about surfing near locals and experiencing that aspect of surf culture. Fortunately for the both of us, people are much nicer on the east coast, and no one was out surfing anyhow). It was a smooth drop back off at Saturdays in Soho - they were crazy busy with their usual ultra hip crowd. I dropped Charlie’s board off in the back yard (I didn’t want to ride my fish and Charlie’s in CA so I borrowed his log and left my fish for collateral), but I held onto big red and stored it in my apartment building’s confined trash area (the super knows its my board, but I never leave it there for over 24 hrs), so I only have to make one trip to Saturdays today, not two.
When I got home I stuffed down all the Thanksgiving leftovers and went to my waiting tables job, which was rather slow and painless, and of course provides a little extra income stimulus for which I am very grateful. It’s actually so cool that they let me work there only 1-3 days a week. I seem to be the only non-jaded employee. Hmm, I wonder why...........
At 10:30pm I received a text from my best friend and total shredder, Andrew Dolan, that he had surfed from 10am to 5pm in Moss Landing. I haven’t had time to get back to him and needless to say I am a bit jealous. But I know how to counteract this emotion. Tuesday is supposed to be epic. I have PhD exams on Friday. So....I am going to drive out to Long Beach on Tuesday and bring all of my exam material with me - surf a couple of times and study in between. I don’t know why I haven’t already employed this method more often.
Last but not least, for you pro surfing fans out there, the Triple Crown is well on it’s way. Haliewa is complete - Taj nailed it. He should have won the contest based simply on that soulful lay back tube ride in the quarter or semi finals (I can’t remember which it was). The World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach is geared to start today and they have a bunch of good swell expected. Carissa Moore’s got entrance into that one - so look for her heat. She can totally hold her own with the boys. After Sunset comes Pipe, and let’s pray for swell and big barrels. I have my Fantasy team all locked in and don’t plan to change it at all. More on that as the time nears.
And so now I bid you adieu. I need to eat more than coffee and get all the gear together.