the crucialness of surfing boots/ I came in hot
I am a terrible swimmer. Its true, and I am often reminded of it. I rode out to Tofino BC last summer with some friends to go surfing. I had surfed a few times before and by “surfed” i mean i used the board as a life raft and basically focused on one thing: not drowning. This time it was going to be different; i was going with Jeff and Tara, the ultimate adventure couple. I’ve been lying for years saying i can totally surf and now finally I will learn. Surfing and motorcycles, what could be better?
We take 3 days to get to Vancouver, complete with rain every day and an insane lightening storm that would’ve been amazing to watch had we not been battling torrential rain at night. One night in Vancouver and the next morning we are on the ferry headed to the island. Tons of twisty roads and ridiculous scenery, an hour and a half of riding through a hot and humid Canadian rainforest.
Next morning everyone is up early and ready to go, i am slightly surprised by this since we had a bit of a late night before. it appears I am the only one feeling a little slower than usual. Great. My friend Danielle and I stop by the rental shop to get our wetsuits and boards (we’re beginners ok?). Since its Canada and cold everywhere, little surfing boots come along with the wetsuit rental. Danielle politely declines, I decide to try em out.
In the parking lot for the beach we all strip down to get into our wetsuits. Danielle and i both put our wetsuits on like a couple loser tourists BACKWARDS and are then ridiculed mercilessly by half the parking lot full of “locals”. Hahaha oh man i still laugh at that one.
Once we’re all on the beach its time for our own private tutorial from none other than surfing legend Jeff. Our lesson lasted just under a minute, I learned to draw a surfboard in the sand and simulate getting up on a wave. Ready to go, i guess?
Danielle and i head out into the drink, beaming with confidence from the lesson we just received as well as tons of “its really easy once you get the hang of it” comments.
First couple waves I am rudely taught two things: A. how terrible of a swimmer I am, and B. surfing isn’t as easy as it looks.
After a few (lots) of failed attempts, I remember looking around and realizing we're not even close to the area we started out in. In fact we've drifted all the way to the end of the beach. And that's when it got a little weird. The waves started getting stronger and the rocks of a tiny peninsula were getting ominously closer. I paddle and paddle for what seems like an eternity, to get absolutely nowhere. I don't know this at the time but I'm getting my first taste of the ruthless and relentlessness of a riptide.
Danielle and I start feeling the pangs of panic, being violently thrown onto the rocks doesn't sound like the fun I thought I would have today. So we full blown action thriller style it, I hold her hand and pull her along, as I walk on the rocks in neck deep water (remember the boots?). It takes us about 20 minutes of bracing against the waves and slowly trudging along, trying to find my footing on the unknown rocks/who knows what below, all the while pulling Danielle as well as holding on to my surfboard, of which the waves seem determined to release my hold.
Paradise by the dashboard light has finally arrived and we are in waist deep water, moving as fast as we can to get to our salvation; the shore.
Collapsing on the shore to fill my lungs and finally breathe easy, completely exhausted from this ordeal. Total newbies, I know.
This was my harrowing and somewhat dangerous first experience with surfing.