The End of A Class Project, But Really Only The Beginning- and why everyone should have a perpetual 20% project
This is pretty much what it feels like to be me right now... there are so many important things to juggle in Life at this moment! I can sincerely say, though, that each thing I am doing or involved with is enjoyable and positive. So I'm not complaining at all- just stating the obvious- I'm busy! As full as my life is right now, I am ridiculously happy that there was a 20% project as part of my EDL630 course. The 20% project is the reason that I have overcome my fear and committed to regularly putting on my wetsuit and getting in the water. I have wanted to learn to surf for so long, and without the push of the 20% project, I may never have done it. I am always "too busy" or "too tired" or the water is "too cold." Choosing to learn to surf for my project took away all of those excuses, and learning to surf appeared on my priority list of "things to do" each week. It was that simple. Suddenly I was re-prioritized. Isn't that amazing? I've decided that I should always have a 20% project going. As a core priority in my life, I should always carve out time to spend learning something new. I think everyone else should too- as a basic living philosophy. It is so good for us! On a regular basis it has us taking time to work on learning something enjoyable, and learning something for ourselves, but It never feels like work.
Our class is coming to an end, so it is time to wrap up my project here on my blog, but I can honestly say that this is just the beginning for me and my adventures in surfing. It is now a regular question on the weekends in my family: "Mom, should I put your board in the truck?" That makes me smile :) Over Thanksgiving we drove to Santa Cruz to visit family, and for the first time, my board was on the roof rack. Surfing has become part of my life, and it helps that my family has that surf culture going already, because there is always enthusiasm to head to the beach. This summer my husband and I will take a vacation to somewhere warm and surfy... maybe I'll be bringing my board too this time? For now, I can answer my initial authentic questions regarding surfing. It seems like I wrote these a long time ago:
Learning To Surf: 10 Authentic Questions:
1. What does it feel like to stand on a surfboard and ride a wave in? It feels absolutely amazing. I know when I pop up on the board, whether I'll stay up for a bit. There is a solid feeling of Flow and being part of the board that rises up in me. There is nothing like it :)
2. What is the best type of board for a beginning surfer? The Best type of board for a beginner is a soft longboard. Mine is called a Wavestorm. Not as cool-looking as other boards, but at least everyone can tell I'm a crazy beginner and they stay out of me way.
3. What other gear or equipment will I need? I don't need much other gear- Just a wetsuit, sunscreen and a towel. Eventually surf wax will come in handy.
4. What do I need to know how to do before I get into the water with my board? The answer to this is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I did learn a few basics like how to tell if you are goofy-foot or regular, and I did practice on the sand with how to pop up on the board, but most of what I need to know I learn through experience out in the water. For example, I learned very quickly that my board always needs to be facing perpendicular to the wave, even if I'm just standing in the water next to my board. If my board is ever parallel to the wave it WILL pop up and it me in the face when the wave hits it. Learning by experience with a board to the face makes the learning stick. Very authentic :)
5. How does a surfer know whether the surf is "good" or not? I'm still not good at this on my own yet, but through many conversations and much reading I have learned that a surfer will look at the surf to see if the wind is onshore or offshore. The ideal conditions are an offshore wind that will help shape the waves. From what I can gather it seems that conditions are better if the water is glassy and not choppy and messy.
6. What is the optimal wave height for me to surf? This question makes me laugh now because the optimal height for me is teeny-tiny, as in white wash. Someday I'll feel comfortable paddling to the outside to catch bigger waves, but I'm still such a beginner that I'll probably be surfing whitewash through the summer still. And that's ok- still super fun.
7. What are the various weather occurrences that affect swell? Storms and wind affect swell.
8. Will I be able to overcome my fear of waves? I am very happy to report that, yes, I will be able to overcome my fear of waves. Not that I still don't have a racing heart out there sometimes, but I am OUT THERE- and that is nothing short of amazing. I'm sure as I move into bigger waves I'll experience more fear, but I'm confident that my emerging skills will make that something I can work through.
9. What do I need to learn about the unspoken rules in surf culture so that I don't offend anyone or make anyone angry out in the water? The main thing I can do is to stay on the inside until my skill level is up. I don't want to get near experienced surfers until my skills match my desire to surf larger waves. When eventually I do make it to the outside, the unspoken rule is not to drop in on anyone else's wave. You have to be aware of everyone around you and pay attention to body language so you know if it's ok for you to try to catch a wave.
10. Are there different techniques for learning to surf? I have watched a lot of videos, read many blogs and articles, and spoken to many surfers... yes, there are many different techniques for learning to surf. The technique I chose has a very fancy name called "Get Out There and Try."
11. Where are the best surf spots in North County for beginning surfers? In North County I have found the best spots to be at the Oceanside Harbor near the jetties and also near the Oceanside pier.
12. How many waves does the average surfer catch in an average length surf session? Most surfers will surf a session that lasts 1-2 hours and during that time will catch 7-20 waves, depending on the conditions that day. Of course my results are very different, as "catching a wave" has different meaning for me. I can catch a wave, but that doesn't guarantee I will actually stand up and be able to ride it in. That's ok though, I am patient.
So what has surfing taught me so far? Surfing has taught me: