Wax On: Don’t Have to Start Them Young

The coolest thing in surfing this week.

I remember walking across chilly beaches in damp clearing winds, one foot waves crumpling near the shore, hoping the person who just shelled out a bunch of cash for a surf lesson wouldn’t be disappointed that their hour of surfing was taking place in such indesirable conditions. They were often big lawyers, Hollywood producers, power types, and I assumed they were recalculating the value of this investment with every step across the wind-blown sand, every gust that revealed the shocking degree to which wind adds cold to wet.

Sometimes I’d give them a quick prep on the beach, sometimes it seemed so hopeless I’d skip it. I would wince as we waded in, the cold water seeping through the seams of my wet wetsuit, wondering if this person thought the idea of California summer they’d been sold was some horrible joke. If it had been up to me, we’d be at a cafe across the street, burying our noses in mugs of hot coffee. When we began to paddle, and they’d catch the first chop in the face, some would let out audible gasps, others would hold them back heroically.

But almost without fail, once they caught a wave, they could have been in any emerald corner of the South Pacific, surrounded by reef fish and rainbows. The dreariness was overridden as they lit up, aboslutely amazed, enthralled at the simple, electric feeling of sliding shoreward on a moving ramp of water.

Exhibit A:


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