Its been done, I came out of my little shell and met up with the local SUP group, AND took my first surf lesson! Phew! Group meet ups are NOT easy for me, some may be surprised but I am actually a very nervous/shy person. I have to get myself pumped up (or raging on caffeine) to drop myself into a social situation. Nothing worse then being the new kid, and not having a clue what you are getting into!
Though for my first SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) meet up, I DIDNT bring my board (yeah, running super late, thought people would have already been gone, didn’t want to be THAT person), we stilled rolled up anyways. I thought I might as well say “HI!” and meet with some people, with all hopes that I would see the same people Saturday morning at the St Johns SUP Rush race.
Ended up being SUPER chill. People just hanging on the beach, playing in the waves, and the guy that puts it on (Mike) was super friendly and introduced some people. Most of the guys there were local reps, and some there just to try out boards. Got filled in on the local scene. Though JAX is a big surf community, the SUP scene has yet to get as big as you would think (for some reason I thought it would be huge here). I’m totally cool with small.
Sometimes its hard to come into an established group of athletes (paddlers? people?), it can be extremely intimidating, you feel yourself getting sized up…. Flashbacks, scary, egh, totally didn’t happen here. I’ll take these laid back surfers any day. This sport has been nothing but beginner friendly (both here and on the MS Gulfcoast). Heck its essentially a new sport, its just gaining ground. So hop on the bandwagon while its still growing. Just like the waves though, it will always be there.
Tell you about the surf you say, ok…
I’ve only been wanting to surf since watching the surfers down in Encinitas, CA where we spent our summers (Del Mar racetrack, just didn’t “summer” at the beach). My brother and I only had boogie boards, and though we weren’t as cool as the surfers, we caught the biggest waves we could, and put ourselves smack dab in the madness with them, which they (local surfers) absolutely hated, they would scream at us, and I remember thinking “Screw you! You don’t own the ocean!” Im pretty sure my 9 year old self was flipping the bird to them as well, sorry.
I desperately wanted to surf, my mom would try and promise us surf camps, and I would always bring home the brochures for them, but it never happened. Also couldn’t just ask my mom to buy a surfboard either, those things are expensive, so we stuck to boogie boarding. Boogie boarded our asses off. I think (pshh, I know) I have suppressed many memories as a kid, but the summers at the ocean, in the waves, I’ll never forget.
Now actually living in a place that has waves, and being only a walk away, it was time for a surf lesson to happen. Once I dropped the kids for their first day of school, I went and made an appointment for my first surf lesson. Ill be honest and say I was intimidated. Meeting up with Tony (surf instructor/owner of JAX Beach Surf Shop) was tough. Instead of easily penciling me in, we had to have a crash course on meteorology & oceanography and figure out the best day to have a surf lesson. Holy hell, we can’t just go surf? Proud to state that I may now be a semi-pro user of swellinfo.com , my meteorologist husband just MIGHT be impressed (we did get into a fight about ground swell vs wind swells though…. google it).
How did it go? TOTAL BAD ASS. Not gonna lie, I was completely ready to get my ass handed to me. Was lucky though on the fact that Florida waves are no where near intense as the California waves I grew up with. Though I had a few wipeouts, I was able to get up on my first try, and things just got better wave after wave. Tony was direct, and straight AWESOME. He covered water safety, marine life, surfer etiquette, and a little more tips then normally given (I was getting the hang out it!). Apparently all those years boogie boarding played into my being able to read waves, yes-uh!
One of the coolest thrilling mornings of my life. I got to do something I’ve dreamt of for 20 years! So yeah, now I am getting ready for the next best day to hit the waves and looking into purchasing a surf board (lets get to Ironman Arizona first right?).
Oh, and you know your going to have a great lesson when your instructor starts with “Don’t freak out when you see fins come out of the water. Totally the worst thing you can do is freak out. Understand?” <—- My thoughts? “This is gonna be totally awesome!”, and it totally was.