Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Real Story

I suited up, pulled on my ugs, put a harmonica on my shoulder, hoisted the log onto the car, strapped it on. I drove 40 mph to Hendrys, lugged the redwood off the car into the parking lot, fished out the paddle, and unzipped the bag. I tried to pull the 11 foot beast out while wearing my gorilla suit, it wasn't budging, people were beginning to stare. A man came over to help be. He held the board while I tugged on the sheath, he told me to put it over "there" out of the street while I put the bag and uggs away, locked the car and tucked the key into my bikini top. He said, "first time out? Where'd you get your board?"  "I don't know", I replied. "I got it from some guy named Matt, from a little warehouse downtown." "Santa Barbara Paddle Sports? Channel Surf?" he inquired. "No, just from some guy I know of through friends." "Why'd you choose this beach for your first time out?" He stated, sounding slightly concerned. " I like this beach" I said. "It was a random choice" (and close enough to home that I didn't have to risk the freeway).  "well, there's a little south swell out there", he said. "You might have trouble getting in and out."  I glanced at the water from the lot. The waves looked absolutely tiny. "No problem!" I said, confidently. I have kayaked in and out of waves before. "Well, good luck!", he said as he walked on to his car. I picked up my board, my paddle and started walking down to the sand.

 As I got closer to the water, I started to figure where I would enter. I went straight in, up to my knees. The waves were pretty big and coming in long sets. I could see that the swells went out pretty far, not just at the break line, as usual. I may be able to get out there, but could I get back in? I walked a little further on down the beach, looking for a smoother entry point. My hand and wrist were beginning to ache from carrying such an enormous log. I decided to put the board down and get friendly with the water. I dove in screamed from the pain of the chilly water, played a bit of harmonica music to call in the friendly dolphins, then got out. Of course, by then it was "smooth".

 My sister Stacy, her husband, Tony, niece Meredith and nephew Morgan had showed up by then to witness my emersion. Stacy tried to talk me in. "GO! Just go now!" she coaxed. In I went, the waves came back. Out I came. In yet again. I put the board in the water, held it long enough to entertain visions of a very rough re-entry, all by myself later. My arm was shaking and I thought I might not be able to hoist this monolith up on to my car after a session in these waves. I also thought to myself, if I go out there and have a really bad time, I might not get over it right away. So, I told the fam, "this is enough. I put the board on my car, got it down to the beach, it touched the water, now I'm going to put it back on my car and drive home (and lift some weights to get my hand and arm strength up). So, there it is. I suffered some mild paralysis in my right hand and arm upon returning home. This entire report was typed with the fingers of only my left hand. Hey, I came home with a saturated wetsuit and a sandy board. Nobody has to know the real story.

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