I finally had my surfing lesson yesterday. I was beyond thankful that the waves were normal-sized, or as my instructor Chad described them, "Lake California." Clearly he grew up surfing on the Pacific, and I clearly grew up on LI Sound, which makes distilled water in a glass look wavy in comparison.
The Chad's approach was one of speed. We had a 3-minute instruction on the sand and then it was water time. I think he realized that he had a winner on his hands when I said, "What!!?? Already??!!"
Actually, he probably realized my winning status when he had to carry my board for me from the parking lot to the beach. I tried to carry it under my arm and on my head. I made it about a third of the way, but my arms were on fire from Monday's Power Flow Yoga. He graciously carried my board for me but not before saying, "So, I have a little one on my hands, huh?"
Anyway, I got in the water, paddled out, and dutifully caught a wave as The Chad ordered. I kinda boogey boarded for the first few rides. The Chad was displeased. I tried harder.
Next, I was able to bring my knees up onto the board. After that, both feet. I was kinda crouching more than standing but I think it counts. I rode a few waves for awhile and then lost my balance and fell off.
The Chad asked, "What happened there?" Like I wasn't giving it my all. Like I was wasting his time.
I quietly told him, "Look, I'm a neurotic New Yorker. At this moment, I am no longer afraid of the waves or of dying here today. I got both feet on the board without screaming. I haven't voluntarily jumped off. I'm doing AWESOME."
The Chad looked at me oddly and said, "Ok, little one. I mean Kerry."
After that, we were sympatico. I rode some waves. I got "worked" (The Chad's term) or bitchslapped (my term) by the Pacific. I rode some more waves. Then it was time to go. And The Chad automatically carried my board to the parking lot.
On my drive home from Malibu, I was exhausted but at peace. I had let go of my control freakisms, became a slave to the waves and was happy. I just kept replaying The Chad's parting words to me, "Yeah, I can tell you're a surfer. You've got a big smile on your face."