Brad has stayed at home for the last few years and watched his older
brother go off surfing with us. This summer, his tenth, he was bound to
give it a try. He started paddling in the protected waters off the east coast of the Island, whenever the opportunity presented itself. It gave
him the feel of the board. He started to figure out the balance and how
to trim the board while paddling. He is so light he easily stands my 7'4" funboard in these calm waters. Push ups and practice pop ups, and some instruction rounded out his preparation.
The first day in the surf for Brad was August 13. We had a great drive
across the Island on this hot 30deg C summer day, and drove into a
bank of marine fog and 15deg C as we approached the west side. The
waves were small, maybe waist high, and closing out hard and fast on the
sand bars of Spot L. I pushed Brad into a few waves and cautioned him
to stay back on the board. He is a reserved kind of guy, old Brad, but no
way he could keep the smile off his face. He started paddling into his
own waves and catching them. The kid was stoked.
Now these waves were custom made for pearl diving and Brad
eventually bought in and got worked. I was pretty close by and to my
alarm when he came up his face was covered with blood. As he was
getting worked he fought it and the fin nailed him in the forehead.
Superficial cut that just gushed.
When I asked him to wash off his face
so I could examine the wound, he demanded to be told how much blood
there was. I explained that his face was just about totally covered. He
replied "kewl" and had trouble standing still long enough to allow me to
stop the bleeding. There was a little disappointment that the fog was too
thick to capture this Kodak moment but mostly he just wanted to get
right back out. I reinforced that you just can't fight a force of nature. Brad had another half dozen runs, tried to pop up, got worked again and
nailed in the hip by the board, and spent the rest of the session playing in the surf...... sans board.
Three days later we headed over again. This time the August sun
followed us right out to the line up. While the waves were about the same
size they were much gentler, and Brad charged them like the veteran of
many battles. The third wave he caught, he popped right up, dropped (all
of two feet) and carved a great right ark back to the face of the wave.
Blew me away. Brad's going to do just fine.
I like everything about surfing, but especially, I like seeing the stoke in the face of someone that I have introduced to this lifestyle. On this day my youngest daughter and my good wife stood their boards for the first time, and I got to play with my new longboard.
The days are good in the summer surf on the west coast of Vancouver
Autumn swells are coming. Maybe El Niņo will keep us a few degrees warmer this winter...... maybe........