I once heard that surfing is 90% paddling, 8% wiping out and 2% fun.
About the same odds as dating.
You might wonder, what kind of moron takes up a sport like this? Right here.
Paddle out. Turtle! Duck dive! Paddle for the wave, miss the wave, paddle back out, paddle for the wave, catch the wave– Wipe out.
Paddle back out.
8 SECONDS of BLISS
That eight seconds of bliss, carving through the shoulder on one of the most powerful forces of nature, usually ends with a bail out or a wipe-out. It makes my head hurt.
Then again, that could be from getting clocked by my board.
It was worth it. I caught three good waves and rode them all the way in.
Of course, then I had to paddle back out.
Nothing compares to that 2% fun.
Sounds a lot like love.
I’m waiting on the beach at San O for my girlfriend Kristine to arrive. It is 75 degrees in what is considered winter everywhere except southern California. The waves are perfect. Waiting with me, unfortunately, is Joe.
Joe befriended me the minute I pulled in next to his crusty Volkswagen bus with dog curtains in the window. That’s right– dog curtains.
When we were kids, we took cross-country trips in a ’72 Dodge Sportsman van.
Side Note: I would highly recommend this method of transportation for the unsophisticated traveler during peak holiday season.
My parents are extremely conservative German-Irish Catholics who would bristle at the very idea of being called hippies but they did grow their own vegetables and our Dodge van had, what else? A bed in the back and dog curtains.
Our particular curtains had hunting dogs frozen at point while Joe’s are more along the cartoon variety. Still, this must be the reason why I felt a near affinity for Joe when he paused from strapping his board on top to greet me.
“Get that for you?”
Joe is attractive in a bushman kind of way. He’s got quite the ‘fro for a white man and when he grins he displays a mouth full of teeth too wide for his lips to contain.
I want to ask him to pick up a paddle and hold it like a spear, sort of a locals shot, but I have no idea how to do this without his taking it as flattery.
Joe clearly has his own agenda as he offers to lift my board out of the Benz and carry it over to the push-off point. I’m only too happy to oblige him until he swings it out and sets it fin side down on the ground.
The warning bells go off–
It is poor form to rest the weight of the board on the fins. Joe is likely a poser hanging out on the beach in a wetsuit, picking up on girls. Too late.
Since I let him carry my board, Joe believes he’s endeared himself to me. While I position my board to avoid fin damage (moron) and get busy with the sex wax, he settles in next to me and prattles on about vegetable packaging.
This is, apparently, his job.
What’s even more disturbing is that he is very passionate about it.
“You know when you go to a grocery store, yea? Ever see those little clam containers that hold the tomatoes?” Joe mimics a clam shell opening with his hands. “I sell those. And the individual cartons that hold apples or avocados? I sell those too. The nets for garlic, oranges, even the cardboard boxes they come in…”
A beautiful set rolls in.
I have no idea how long Joe has been talking to me about vegetable packaging but it does occur to me that if he would have done his job right, I would have had a biodegradable garlic net at the commissary when I was shopping with him and we might not have had a Seinfeld moment over a plastic bag.
You seriously dropped the ball, Joe.
Where the hell is Kristine?