I prepared Tuesday morning by watching Blue Crush.
A fun, quick side note about that movie – one of my friends in junior high was going to take a big group of us to watch that movie in theaters for his birthday. I wasn’t allowed to go, though, as my parents were wary of the movie. (Keep in mind, I wasn’t allowed to listen to the Backstreet Boys or anything like that growing up).
Typical minister’s kid. To be more specific, a minister’s first born. You know what I’m talking about Colin.
Anyway, I was asked by one of my colleagues if I wanted to go surfing this past Tuesday. BSR Cable Park, around 20 minutes outside of Waco, recently opened up a surf park.
In my mind, that surf park looked like the kind of surfing situation cruise ships have on board. Something narrow with a royal blue lining on the bottom of the pool. Nothing anywhere close to the real experience.
But BSR is legit. Like, legit legit. So legit that Bethany Hamilton has surfed there. And someone is going to go to Japan to scope out the waves there – since surfing will be an Olympic sport in 2020 – so that Team USA can practice at BSR where they’ll simulate those waves. Whoa.
Back to Blue Crush. The photography is insane what they were able to get in the water. It has a couple of one-liners that my family (yes, they like the movie now) quote often. However, my favorite line from a surfing movie is from Surf’s Up – “He’s a dirty trash can full of poop.”
Did watching Blue Crush help me once I got out on the water? Nope.
We signed up for the Beginner session – an hour with waves scheduled to come around every minute-and-a-half. We got soft-top boards. I was told the longer the board, the easier it would be to balance on out in the water. But all I could picture was a slapstick routine starring me, knocking people over with a 9-foot long board while trying to get into the water.
So, I opted for the 8-foot board. I wandered out into the water. I tried to walk most of the way as the water isn’t that deep, but the bottom of the surf pool is lined with some kind of slick tarp-like thing. I ate it a few times as I walked around like Bambi on ice.
Out in the water, I looked around at the (obvious) more experience beginners out there. Some laid belly down on their boards. Other sat up, straddling the board with the nose pointing up.
Once the sound of the wave generator was heard, they all turned around to watch where they wave would come from. For at least the first half of the session, I didn’t watch the wave generator thing. I watched the other surfers.
Let me back up to explain that my main goal out there was to stand up. I had decided that I would be some kind of failure if I didn’t stand up on my board. Playing through my mind was wipeout after wipeout, someone struggling to figure things out. It was scary for me paddling the board out to the middle of the water. Remember, I’m an enneagram 3. A performer. And performers can’t fail.
If I had let the fear of wiping out keep me from surfing the wave, I would have missed out on a, how did they say it, a gnarly afternoon of surfing. Did I even use that word correctly?
As I was trying to figure out the timing of when to start paddling and all that stuff, one of the guys who worked there obviously noticed I had no clue what I was doing and came over to help. He gave me a push, and I finally caught a wave. I rode the board on my stomach the whole way, getting a feel for how it felt to balance on the wave.
I was pumped and a little over-eager on my paddle back to the middle of the pool. After getting a high five, I immediately asked when I should stand up. The guy grinned like, “Here’s another rookie who has no clue what’s happening,” before he told me I needed to get the feel of the wave first.
So the next couple of waves, I rode them out on my stomach. Then I got up on my knees. Then, I completely ate it as I tried to get from my knees to my feet.
Legit surfers bounce right up from their stomachs to their feet. That was not going to happen on Day 1 for me, so they told me how to kneel which would make it easier to go from knees to feet.
After catching a wave and riding it with one foot down on the board and the other knee down – I was pretty much Tebow-ing it out there on the water, I was able to stand up.
It was an ever-so-brief moment of glory. Because I toppled over a second after I stood.
That brief moment was probably a micro-second longer the next time I stood.
But I did it. And it was awesome.
With all the excitement surrounding a new experience, I didn’t even think to pace myself. I paddled quickly back each time so I wouldn’t miss the next wave. I had to paddle my little heart out to catch the waves.
So by the time there were about 15 minutes left, I was toast. The idea of laying face down on the board for the rest of the time was appealing. I was exhausted as I paddled out of the surf pool when the hour ended. But I was already excited to get back out there and do it again.
When that will happen, no one knows. If you’re interested, beginner sessions are $60 for an hour at BSR.