Friday, March 11, 2005

The sea was angry that day, my friends

I tried to surf yesterday. This was an extraordinarily ill-advised idea... y'know, just the way I like 'em. There was a surf advisory in effect... some parts of the coast saw 15 to 20-foot waves. There was even a news story on it, showing footage of people who were actually surfing. I went to a south-facing beach where the waves would be less, though we still got the odd 10-foot wave (I watched my brother get pulled under a couple times--that vision of a large wave breaking and then a surf board suddenly making a vertical leap out of the foam is one of my favorites; it's too bad I couldn't see myself from afar, as I would have been treated to that far more frequently). In addition to large waves, there was a rip tide that pulled us close to a mile down the beach, so we spent almost as much time out of the water, hiking back, as we did in it. And if that wasn't enough, the rip tide combined with irregular bottom depth meant you never knew where a wave might break, or if it might randomly stop due to a sudden drop in depth. I decided that actually trying to stand up was probably a bit too ambitious, and settled for just catching a couple of waves while lying down. The rest of the time I spent sitting on (and falling off) my surfboard, paddling out on (and falling off) my surfboard, and merely trying to stay afloat on (and falling off... er, getting torn from) my surfboard. Oh, I got a rash on my neck from my wetsuit, too. And it was only when we were finally leaving that the sun started to peek through greyness.

You probably won't believe me when I say this, but I had fun. No sarcasm there, either (like I would ever be sarcastic). Sure, it was challenging, but the water is one of the few places where I actually feel comfortable. I'm never afraid that I'm going to drown or something like that. I have even more evidence for that now, too, given the sheer number of wipeouts I experienced (at one point I was actually pulled into a full somersault under a broken wave... that was kinda cool) and the fact that my first instinct, upon reaching the surface, was to, well, breathe, but right after that it was to laugh. Sure, my ears still have sand in them, but I still think that picture of people totally eating it is a funny one, and can somehow manage to enjoy it even from a first-person standpoint.

So I think I'll try it again this weekend (if I can find a surfboard to borrow), and my brother and I are going together again on Wednesday.

Um, don't ask about my progress with golf. Or learning Spanish. Or really anything else on that list. However, I can tell you that I've accomplished the rental and viewing of every available dvd from the first season of Alias at my local Hollywood Video. Hey, it's hard work, but I think my sense of discipline may finally be coming around.

Update: It seems the LA Times is claiming that waves yesterday were in the vicinity of 5 to 8 feet, with the occasional 10-footer. All I have to say is, I don't know what these people's method of measurement is, but I looked down from the tops of a couple of those mofo's (and got brief glimpses of them from below, as well, though such should probably not be trusted given the head trauma that shortly followed in every case) and could have sworn they were all in excess of, like, 50 feet. I took into account the effects of subjective assessment, my poor depth perception, and the complete lack of any kind of measurement tools and adjusted my estimates accordingly to the numbers mentioned above. I'm nothing if not scientific.

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