Sunday, August 25, 2013

Surf Goddess...or Bionic Woman?

"I'm going to learn to surf," I told my husband. "All the cool people surf. Cameron Diaz and Eddie Vedder and that other guy..."
"Laird Hamilton?"
"Yeah, him. And Eddie Vedder."
My husband rolled his eyes and went back to working on his thesis. "Sounds like fun," he said.

But I was serious. Land-locked, rural dweller that I am, I aimed to surf in my forty-seventh year.

At heart I'm an ocean girl. Born at the rim of the mighty Pacific, drawn to her shore like a King Salmon finding its way home, I sneak away every year and recharge in the grey mist of the Long Beach Peninsula. Surfing isn't such a stretch, really. No so different from rolling up your pants and wading into the waves.

One thing about the ocean in Washington, though. It's damned cold. And at my age, there's less romance in proving you're tough.

So I decided to learn to surf in Hawaii. I studied up, practiced my yoga, and found a surf school run by women.

And on Fathers' Day, I surfed.

North Shore Oahu. Chun's Reef beach. Perfect sun, rolling breakers, my blue-and-white board under my feet. Here's how I felt:

Luckily, we captured some photos. Here's how I actually looked:

And then things got hairy. A wave or two later, I looked like this:

And wound up slightly worse for wear:

Swear to God, a surfer dude offered me a beer before he took this picture. When I told him I don't drink any more, he said, "Dude, that truly sucks. Also, you're gonna need a stitch or two before you go back out." 

Yep. I was IN. A real freakin' surfer.

Funny thing, thirty seconds before I cratered, we'd been sitting on our boards watching the waves, and I'd thought, 'I'm doing this again. Not just again, but a lot. Enough that when someone asks what I do, I'll say I'm a writer and a surfer and trail runner...'

Because getting up on the board and knowing I could do it again felt like this:

And if that means an occasional visit to the ER/dentist/endodontist/periodontist, what the hell? At least I can muster a decent attitude after I'm all stitched up:

And the word is, nine-months-to-a-year from now, I'll have a bionic front tooth. Hopefully it'll be surf-proof.

Cheers...and Happy Writing!


                                   Next day at the Polynesian Cultural Center--all stitched up and ready to Luau!


  1. You only go round once! Better to cram it all in while you can!

    1. Amen, sister! And it's even better with friends.

  2. Oooouch. So sorry that happened to you on your Hawaiian get away. But I'm amazed at how good you look without any makeup on.
    Now, I'm wondering just what you can do with a bionic tooth. Fight off evil attackers in dark alleys with a single nip? Smile in the bright sun and send a laser beam that'll cut metal?
    Open cans of beans on camping trips? (joking)
    Glad you made it home safely. Thanks for the stories.

    1. I vote for the laser beam, bean-can-opening trick. But I'll settle for being able to eat salad in public;)

  3. You are one of the bravest women I know. It's an honor to be able to call you, "Friend." Bionic tooth and all.

    1. Brave is living a classy, productive life where you enrich everyone you know. That's you, my dear Jackie!


Glad you're here!