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Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Attempts



   Anyone into surfing? I tried it once, real surfing that is. Off the beach in Ca. I actually managed to stand up on the board one time. I'm not going to say how long it took me to do that but I did make it up to where I at least looking like I was surfing, for a few minutes anyway. I caught a wave (a very small wave) and was heading for the beach. It surprised me to find out that even a small wave can move you right along at a pretty good clip and it surprised me more to find out how hard it is to steer a surf board. Heading toward the beach was the plan however heading toward the pier sticking out into the water didn't really seem like a good idea to me. But, since I didn't know how to turn I didn't have much choice. Yes I could have just fallen off the board and would have probably been Ok but I didn't think of that until later. Anyway I went right under that pier. I was thinking I might actually make it all the way to the shore and I would have if that last piling hadn't jumped out in front of me. I found out something interesting about Ca. sea life that day. Did you know that there are lots of sea life that like to grow on pilings? Did you also know that most of them are covered in sharp shells? After one of the life guard people pulled my limp butt up on the shore and put what felt like a hundred bandages one me and shined her light in my eyes, asked me if I was seeing double and made me count to ten she asked me if wanted to try surfing again. I'm pretty sure she was being sarcastic but I declined anyway. I spent the rest of that day sitting under some shade and watching the people surf that knew what they were doing, including a couple of kids that couldn't have been over ten!

   I had a lot more fun surfing in Arizona, yes they do have surfing in Arizona and yes there are rednecks there also. Our idea of surfing was what everyone called canal surfing. There are lots of canals out there and they were our main swimming holes. Kind of like the creeks back home, just lined with concrete. Most of them had a pretty fast water flow but not fast enough for surfing. However, since there are dirt roads that run alongside each of them and someone always had a car to haul us out there. Rope tied to the bumper of a car with a nut behind the wheel, held by a crazy kid on a board in the canal equals redneck surfing. It was really a lot of fun and I was always the first one to be willing to climb on that board and go for it. You really only had to worry about a couple of things. Number one was to be on the lookout for pipes that crossed the canal. There were quite a few of them and when you saw one you had to let go of the rope and dive into the water. You could be real crazy and try to jump them but I can tell you from personal experience that is not a real wise move! The other thing was the nut behind the wheel. As long as they took off slowly and held the car at a slow steady speed everything worked fine but if you got someone who was a speed demon it could get a little exciting be on that board. My brother-in-law was the driver on my first attempt. He started off nice and slow. I managed to stand up on the board and was doing pretty good when he decided to speed up. I was still able to stay on the board and was pretty proud of myself than he speeded up some more. Our stories differ from that point forward. He swears that I motioned him to go faster and I will admit I was enjoying showing off to everyone else but I swear the speed was his idea. I'm not sure how fast he got the car up to but I do remember not being able to see it anymore because of all the dust but I was sure it was a lot faster than I wanted to be going if I fell off and hit the water. I was still hanging on when we came up to a pipe. Mike also swears that he was trying to look back and check on me so he didn't see the pipe. As for me I was so busy watching the board and trying to keep my balance that I didn't see it either. I was a big pipe, only about four inches in diameter but it crossed that canal about six inches above the water. Whatever speed we were doing when I had an intimate relationship with that pipe it was fast enough for me to actually hear my left leg snap! The rope was jerked out of my hands, the board went under the pipe and I went over. I can remember hitting the water on the other side and not much else for awhile. My sister says that when I hit the water I looked kind of like a rock that someone had skipped across the water. That kind of put the brakes on my summer vacation that year but did it stop me from canal surfing? Yes, at least until the next summer.