Across cultures and countries the ocean is symbol of the ebb and flow of life; the seasons and challenges that life brings, the unexpended and sometimes dangerous aspects of life and even the carefree, spontaneous adventures of life. All of these conveyed through s single entity, the sea. Anyone growing up near the ocean, especially in California, more specifically Southern California; the beach is a haven, an adventure, an escape in the hot summer months enjoyed by all. For me this was not the case. The beach was quite the opposite for me. Growing up, our family just didn’t make it to the beach very often, if we wanted to go swimming it was in the pool. As I got older, my hatred for sand grew more and more. I couldn’t stand the feeling of sand all over my body, in every little nook and cranny that seemed to only wash off after a very long shower. The salt water proved to be most problematic, one drop of that in my eye would burn, making it impossible to see anything. I realize all this makes me sound very high maintenance, but those were my opinions and nothing could change that. That is until my twenty-sixth birthday.
It’s interesting that as we get older preferences, ideals, thoughts, hobbies all seem to evolve in each passing year. We never stay stagnate or idle as we go through life. Something I never thought I would change my mind about was the beach. I have a few friends that surf and I thought it would be something fun thing to try out. Literally the day of my birthday, I took a surf lesson and simply fell in love. Luckily, a friend of mine looked up places for lessons and came across a great company based in Santa Barbara called iSurf. My friends and I had such a great first experience with them. Their instructors are extremely knowledgeable and have years of experience. Our instructor actually received his degree in surfing from UC Santa Barbara, which is considered one of the best surfing schools, how cool is that? We all felt the instruction was very thorough and well-tailored for beginners. They provide both a wetsuit and a board for an hour lesson. It was also reasonably priced, it was about $100 for an hour lesson, which ended up rolling over to an hour and a half. If you have any interest in trying out surfing I would highly recommend looking into these guys, they’re passionate about what they do and it really shows.
I wasn’t entirely sure how I would like surfing due to all my past thoughts and opinions, but after that first lesson, I promptly ordered my own wetsuit and board the next day. I’ve been surfing about every weekend since and love every second of it. I have found that there is something rejuvenating, therapeutic and even cathartic about being out on the water. Feeling the come and go of a wave, seeing the sun glistening on the dancing water, inhaling the salt air just brings a sense of happiness, a sense that all is right in with the world. Not to mention the feeling of catching a wave. Once you see that perfect wave on the horizon swiftly gliding toward you, the anticipation and excitement begins to build as you get ready. It may look easy to get up, but believe it or not, a lot of work goes into catching a wave. You’ll find you are inadvertently doing an arm workout; each arm is tearing through the water to match the momentum of the upcoming wave. Once you’ve caught it, you’ve caught and you’ll feel it. The wave seems to pick up the board from under you and all of sudden you are one with the wave. The next part tests your balance and core strength, standing up on the board can be challenging, but I’ve found not overthinking it really does help. The moment you stand up is something completely surreal. It is hard for me to fit into words the feeling of surfing. But I will tell you the only thing I feel when I’m on the board is that of complete and utter joy.
The ocean is a reminder of the change that life brings. The water comes and goes bringing something different with each wave. Much like each season and stage of life seems to bring something new and different forcing us to adapt, transform and grow with each wave of life passing us by. I think the best way to handle the waves of life is to hop along for the ride. I would encourage you if there’s even the slightest interest in learning to surf, go for it, you won’t regret it.
And that’s the dirt!