The Rest of the Week
Stiff and sore I woke far too early again. I made my coffee and oatmeal. I forgot to eat my banana. Cleaned up, suited up in motorcycle gear, loaded up the 990R and rolled it out of the garage. Once I got the door closed and the bike fired up I was off.
I’d learned on Monday to download the parking app for the state parks, Yodel and I’d added the bike on Monday evening. That was an easy way to park. I missed the exit so I had to ride about five more miles to the next exit, turn back north and not miss the exit this time. I still got to camp early enough to park close.
The predicted surf for the week on our apps said it would be decreasing through Thursday. Friday would be back to big and bashing. Tuesday was pretty nice. The “June Gloom” marine layer burned off early to clear blue skies. I was able to loosen up a bit before we headed down. This time I left wrestling the upper half of my wetsuit until I got down to the beach. I did not feel stiff and planned to switch feet. Out oldest daughter told me about how they determine which foot goes forward in snowboarding so we went through the exercise. I had been using my right foot and the exercise indicated my left should be used. So, I changed.
It did take several efforts before my brain caught up with this change. I did finally manage to twice get up on the board in balance and most important in control. So much so that I was able to turn the board away from a surfer in the water, directly in my path and avoid them. And I had intended that move. It was as intuitive as riding my motorcycle in sand, but much better feedback from the water to this big board than sand provides to a loaded adventure bike. I was quite impressed with myself, but also how I was able to process the feel of it in my mind.
Getting that balance and control had a very natural feel to it. I could feel the water through the board. I imagine a stiffer board would provide even greater feedback.
I did not get my feet quite right as my front foot was pointed along the board rather than across, but I was balanced. And foot position gave me something more to work on.
I got some better with smaller, slower surf. I tried a 9-1/2 foot board that seemed really hard to paddle out on and not all that different to stand on or balance from the half a foot shorter board. But, we used that two days. The last day, Friday I crashed hard, well did a straight legged slide off where my hip got extended more than it liked and that hurt. I tried one more ride after that and had zero strength to overcome the pain and stand. That ended my camp on Friday morning.
Before all that on Thursday I got a couple of good rides. I managed to turn the board when and where I wanted to. Even turning to avoid another surfer in the water ahead of me, then another ride, turning to each side a bit and guiding myself to the sandiest bit of shore where I could step off and walk in. That was fun.
I got tired pretty quickly. Each of my sessions each day would last about a half hour. I kept forgetting to start my workout on my watch so I only got partial day from the few times I remembered.
The camp offers meals; get there early and there is breakfast, coffee, cereals, pancakes, bacon sandwiches. Depended on the day. I would wake early at home and have my usual oatmeal and raisins, coffee and a banana when I remembered.
The whole camp:
I knew by Friday I would return next summer. I emailed my brother and some friends. I’d like to do the late August/early September Adult camp. Warmer weather and water, more sand and maybe not so exciting conditions for learning. But, I will have been surfing a few times a week between now and then. In fact in a couple of days I’ll rent a board and go out on my own one morning at Doheny State beach just north of the river mouth. Very light surf there, plenty of easy parking, showers and restrooms. I can fit an 8′ foam board inside the Tesla Model Y, so that will be the first board I’ll try. Costco have a deal where you get a leash and the board for $180 shipped. I may go that way or see if our in-house shopper can find me a lightly used one online/local. Eventually I plan on building a frame to hold the garden hose to use as an outdoor shower when I can finally just walk down the hill and surf. I figure I have a year or more before I’ll need to break out my design brain for that.
After recovering for a week I know a lot more than I did before I attended the camp. I’ve watched a lot of surf instruction videos and exercise videos and talked to a lot of people about it. To me surfing is a near perfect activity for people such as me. over 50, OK, nearly 70, but still very active and healthy. Willing to learn and work to learn new skills and yes. probably need to do some exercises beyond surfing as well as learn some surfing specific stretching. Then build all that into a routine. All of it falls into the category of what the doctor always tell us geriatrics we need; upper body strength training, aerobic activity, social activity and work on our balance. Surfing is a whole body workout. It is particularly working core, and balance.
A couple of points, first, surfing on slow waves and being honest with myself about what I can and should be doing, I know I won’t be smashing big waves or performing all the tricks the kids are on those super quick shortboards. And by using a foam board, paying attention to shallow water and working my balance I am pretty safe, maybe safer than cycling out on the roads. I mean there at San Onofre Trails where the camp is held, the only hazards listed by the Magic Seaweed app were adolescent sharks and nudists. I didn’t know nudists were biters.
Links to YouTube Video channels and playlists:
Cheap Versus Expensive Wetsuits
My collection of surf videos I’ve found helpful