Sand, Sun, and Saltwater – I guess that is going to be my general theme throughout this summer. New York gives you many options to enjoy yourself on the beach, though, which makes it really easy to try out new things.
This weekend has been a blast, I’m not going to lie. I did something completely different from the ordinary beach trip and something that hadn’t been on my list of things to do during this summer.
The Roomie had booked an introductory surfing lesson on one of New York beaches a few weeks in advance and I vouched to take a few pictures of her
jumping around in the water standing on her board throughout the course. Another friend spontaneously joined into the fun (heck, it’s a lot better to make it through a 2-hour-surfing-lesson if you have something called company, right?), so we, the trio, made our way up to one of the beaches at Far Rockaway. This time we took the A-train all the way through to B67th St and entered the sand around 69th St. This part is destined for surfers and surfboards only, and no one is allowed to simply go for a swim here – for reasons of safety. There is nothing more dangerous than to be accidently hit by a lone surfboard or to be cut by those three hard plastic fins hidden underneath the board.
We arrived there relatively early and were just waiting to see what the day would bring along. The Roomie then joined a group of almost 20 people – so much to her one-on-one lesson she had initially paid a
higher fee for. I think I would have at least complained to the instructors about this, but everyone is different. My Australian friend and I watched as the people assembled into a sect-like gathering, swinging their arms around and rolling their heads up and down like crazy. Then one of the teachers pulled out two boards and demonstrated how to use your arms as a paddle when in the water. The first 45 minutes were meant to practice a few moves and let everyone demonstrate their newly-acquired skills in front of a professional. As everyone was waiting for their wetsuit, one of the instructors practically forced a wetsuit top onto me and my Australian friend was handed the same by another teacher. Well, it surely looked like the group was enhanced by two eager surfers after this!
So, each of us grabbed a board and paddled out into the ocean. Not too far, of course, since no one was meant to be lost, but still far enough to be on top of some significant waves. I think the ratio was one instructor to 4 to 5 learners – actually not that bad. I had enough opportunities to be pushed into a wave by them and tried to find my own luck one or two times.
The Australian was quickly appointed the pro, since he was from Australia (even though he really did not surf over there!) and didn’t receive as much care. Which totally worked out for us. The Roomie got scared of the waves, the board, and about anything else in the ocean because it was out of her control. I managed to stand on my board for 5 seconds maximum, but my main problem was to differentiate a good wave from a bad wave.
The rest of the two-hour-lesson went by in a blink, and everyone seemed to have a great time. I managed to painfully scrub across the sand at one point in time and still wear the proofs of this – an ugly wound on my left foot. I guess this can be called collateral damage to the fun. The Aussie, very blond by nature, caught an evil-looking sunburn, and it turned into an ugly lobster-red by the end of the day. He didn’t really seem to care as much, because he considers himself already prone to skin cancer (great attitude!). I actually happened to have a face in the same distinct red tone up until a few days after this; it just took a while until my sunburn showed. That is probably why the instructors were wearing a white, thickly-applied layer of sun screen on their faces while teaching. I will remember to bring my sun block lotion with me the next time. Yes, the impact of the sun is still highly underestimated over here, because it is far enough up north to think it won’t do too much harm but it becomes very strong and hot during the summer. Never ever forget means of sun protection in New York, folks, just saying!
In the end, I have to admit that all the inflicted wounds and burns were totally worth it. It was one of the best days I’ve had so far during this summer and it inspired me to do some further surfing throughout the season. It is not very hard to find your balance on the board but it might be a more difficult thing to ride right upon a wave. I will keep you updated on my progress.
If you want to share any tips on surfing, please do not hesitate to voice them here.