Alan's Endless Summer 2004
Popsicle Stick Splints (6/5/05)
So with all the new house stuff this Spring and my new favorite hobby, playing with Sasha, I haven't had any time to go pursue my surf career this year. Finally, for the first weekend in June, I had a weekend with no big plans so I packed up the family and forced them to come to the beach with me.
Sasha's only 10 months old, can't walk yet and given the chance would eat as much sand as she could so the first thing I had to do was go out and buy one of those baby beach tents to lock her up in when we got to the ocean. Sasha and I went out on Saturday afternoon and drove all over town looking for the Baby Beach tent that I saw online the night before. The stores don't really have a big selection of Baby tents and I immediately hated all the ones that they did have in stock. They were cheap and junky and I didn't want to waste the money. Just as I was about to give up I saw a small pink dome tent that was priced the same as the play tents so I decided that this would be better because it was basically a real tent.
I brought it home and set it up in the living room of the apartment. I thought it would be fun for Sasha to play in while I went to the movies. The thing turned out to be huge! It's a 3 man tent and it didn't even fit in our living room. So right away it seemed I had made a mistake. But I finally convinced myself that I would keep looking for a smaller tent and keep this one for beaches like Cape Hatteras and at the very least Sasha and her friends could play with it in the back yard at the house.
We left the next morning around noon for Cape Hatteras. The drive down was uneventful and Sasha slept most of the way. We got to my secret spot on Pea Island around 2pm and I quickly set up the Pink BigTop for Sasha and Holly to hide from the sun in. The tent was easy to pop up and ended up being a really great beach tent. We couldn't use it on a populated beach like here in town but it's just fine for the barren shores of Pea Island. Sasha seemed to like it as well and had fun all day playing in it.
We took her down to the waves and let her get her legs wet and she liked that as well. When the waves came in we'd lift her up and she giggled and laughed and had a great time. You can see the pictures here.
I was thinking I'd need my wet suit but the water temperature has shot up pretty quick over the last month and it's already up in the 70's now. The waves were also perfect for longboarding. Nice even breaks on a pretty smooth surface. I was also there just after low tide so the waves were breaking further out. Actually where I was, there were about 3 breaks. It was unusually foggy for the middle of the afternoon but that was the only problem for the pictures.
Holly was in the tent feeding Sasha when I decided to go out so unfortunately there's no pictures of my short time surfing. I got in the water and paddled out to the middle break. It was shallow enough that I could stand with the water at about shoulder level and hop on the board and paddle ahead of the good waves as they came in. I quickly realized that I have lost all the ability that I had worked up to the previous year and the year before that. I'm much fatter now than I've ever been and that might be part of it. And I was never that good to begin with and now I'm much worse.
After a while I was able to get up on one wave into my crouching kneeling type stance and ride it for a few seconds before I had to bail. Because these were middle breaks you can only ride for a short distance before you reach the beach. I tried again and again and couldn't catch another.
Finally I was getting tired so I decided to quit for a while. As I was coming in I stupidly decided to catch a shore break. These are the waves that break closest to the shore. As I was getting up into my crouching stance the wave rose higher than expected, because the water was so shallow, and lifted up the back of the board and threw me head over heels forward into the shallows. I instinctively balled up so as not to get clocked by the surfboard but because the water was so shallow my back scraped along the shell bed and I got scratched and banged up pretty bad. My hands were covering my head and I tucked my head in so hard that I kind of twisted my neck. I may have actually landed on my head during the roll but it happened so quick I don't really remember. I bent back or jammed 2 of my fingers during the wipe out as well.
So I dragged myself up onto the beach and grabbed my board and walked back to the tent. I had hoped Holly might have caught the whole thing on video but she didn't even see it. I showed her my back and she said it was bleeding a little.
I spent the rest of the time in the tent playing with Sasha. Over the next hour my fingers started to really hurt and kind of curl up toward my palm in a way that would hurt like crazy if I tried to extend them. One of my knuckles was also kind of sunk in. At about 4:30 we decided to call it a day and I packed up the gear and we headed back into town. We stopped for dinner at Goombays. I had my fish taco's but I was really getting sore and didn't enjoy them as much as usual.
When we finally got home I had Holly tape my fingers with masking tape to a couple of popsicle sticks. I was worried that if I left them curled up over night they would hurt even more in the morning. The next day I was pretty banged and bruised. I also had a pretty harsh sunburn on top of everything else because it was my first time at the beach this year. After a few days I felt fine again and started checking the surf reports.
I probably won't have time to go again until July but I am undeterred. I will be a surfer. No matter how fat I get or how much I suck at it.