The summer before I moved to UCSB I was given a surfboard. The nose was split open and it was riddled with dings, but I eventually glued it back together and swore to learn how to surf better. Like many people, I had a few experiences with the sport in my past. I had taken a couple brief lessons and trips with my youth group in high school, but my skills had all but disappeared.
After submitting my intent to enroll at a school surrounded by ocean on two sides, I felt surfing would be a great way to pass the time. I would suspect there are more than one or two of you who felt that way before coming here and have yet to paddle out into the Pacific. I know that I have spent much less time surfing than I originally planned, and I have a surfboard sitting in my hallway.
I don’t want to get all mushy-gushy on you, but I think that now would be the time to help out your friends. I would encourage all of you who surf already to reach out to your landlocked friends and offer to teach them to surf. As far as I know there are very few people who show absolutely no interest in learning to surf. Everyone I have talked to at least claims to have some desire to check it out. Unfortunately most also claim to have some inhibiting factor like, “I don’t have a board,” “I don’t have a wetsuit,” “I don’t know anyone who would be willing to teach me” or “I am scared of sharks.”
Sure, the huge man-eating creatures are somewhat of a concern, but someone once pointed out to me that you have better chance of biting the bullet in a car accident or getting struck by lightning than being attacked by a shark. Since I don’t think about those issues all that much I just try to ignore the sudden death waiting below me.
The other issues are easily solved here in I.V., there are enough people running around with surfboards that finding one to borrow should not be much of a problem, assuming you have the gumption to ask for one. In addition, a wet suit is not as much of a concern as you might think. With summer just around the corner, the weather is warming up and should help to counteract the chilly water. Even without neoprene blubber, it is possible to tough it out in the water for about an hour assuming you can make the commitment. You can also find surf shops in the area that rent this stuff, all you have to do is look in the Yellow Pages. Unfortunately, the shop on Pardall does not rent.
Last, but not least, is the issue of finding a willing tutor. Though I can’t vouch for the kindness of every person in Isla Vista, I can bet that you know at least one person in your life who is willing to take you out to sea on a board in search of that surf rush. If you can’t swindle one of your friends to do it, I know that the surf club has held lessons in the past and will probably continue to do so. If that route fails you, there are companies in SB that offer lessons, including Captain Jack’s.
So if adventure is what you seek, I highly recommend convincing your compadres to take you along on their next jaunt. It is the kind of sport that can open up opportunities for roadtrips and adventures in the future. Sure it is absolutely exhausting and frustrating at first and even after that it only gets marginally easier, but it is also extremely rewarding. For some reason there is just no feeling that compares to the sudden rush of being rocketed forward when you catch a wave. In short, it’s addictive.