Surfs Up

I recently had the day off from work and had nothing to do. It was clear, sunny, and warm–definitely not a day to be wasted spent inside–so I packed up my bag and headed to Santa Monica. My typical beach activities are: sunbathing, walking along the shore, and reading/catching up on tv on my iPad. But this day, I wanted to challenge myself and try something new: ocean paddleboarding. Now, I have been paddleboarding before, once, on a lake, three years ago. Ocean paddleboarding, is a completely different animal because of the waves…duh.

When I got to the beach I rented a “wee” 10′ paddleboard. I was nervous, not only because this was new to me, but also because I was by myself–no one else had the same day off. Boo friends! I am not the most coordinated person so I kept having these flashes of my almost certain watery death with no one to hear me scream. I told the paddleboard guy that if I was not back in an hour that I was probably dead and he should come collect the board before it drifted off to sea. He laughed it off and I turned to him and was like, “No, seriously. I am probably dead. Come find my bloated corpse…” And with that, I was off lugging this beast of a board down to the shore.

When I finally got down to the water, the beach was deserted except for two paddleboarders who were out floating. One caught a tiny wave and expertly surfed it down the coast. I grabbed my board, said a tiny prayer, and ran into the freezing Pacific. Did I mention that I didn’t have a wet suit? Yeah it was c-c-c-c-chilly! I paddled out as fast as I could past the break, drinking in a few sips of salt water as I went. Flapping my arms wildly, I eventually made it out to calm water. Proud of my accomplishment, I promptly laid down on my board and let myself just float there. It was so peaceful and calm. The water was actually so still that I could see schools of fish swimming below me.

I finally got the nerve to stand up on the board but when I looked around, the paddleboarders had vanished. I hadn’t drifted far, they had just decided that they were done and headed in. I was by myself in the ocean with no one around. I immediately saw the watery death flashes and promptly sat down. No death today. I paddled around on my knees for about 10 more minutes before the waters started to get rough. I could no longer see the fishes, and was having a tough time keeping my balance. I positioned myself back in the break to ride a wave in and was immediately knocked off my board. I cut my shin on the fin and hobbled back up to the shore. Wet and now slightly bloody, I dragged my sad little body up back to the equipment stand and deposited the board. Despite the injury and minor panic, I would definitely like to do this again…with a buddy.