I believe I last left you with heckling my shaper (Ian Wright) and “going for it.” Luckily, both of those things have to do with my yesterday.
After trying (and failing) to be the perfect, patient board commissioner, my shaper (yes, that’s right, Stuart) called me on Thursday and said, more or less, “Jesus, woman, you can come and get it tomorrow. Sheesh.” So the next day, I drove through LA county traffic in August heat to get my penguin. This is a rough facsimile of the conversation that ensued… edited for brevity. And stuff.
C: It has my name on it!
I: Well, yeah, it’s a custom board. If I ordered a custom board and it didn’t have my name on it, I’d be pissed.
C: I didn’t even think about it.
I: That is why your hair color is blonde.
C: I really am sorry if I was a pain in the ass, I didn’t mean to rush you…
I: [Straight-faced. Probably kidding. I think.] You were a real pain in the ass, actually. I was starting to get pissed. I called everyone at SURFER and told them so.
C: Well, anyway, it really is beautiful. [Gazing, starry-eyed at the gleaming white glass.]
I: You’re not gonna sleep with it, are ya?
C: Maybe. Here’s what was left in my bank account.
C: Hasta la vista, baby!
You get the picture. I may or may not have driven it around and bought it Mexican food and fro-yo. I was stoked. He told me not to use it until Monday to make sure it had cured.
Monday was supposed to be the smallest swell for 5 days in any direction. I am a lifelong surfer but that doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. And I’m from Jersey, where big waves are rare and really fucking scary. After work on Monday, I struggled with the question of whether to paddle out. I decided to “go for it,” ha. I couldn’t disappoint the penguin. As I began my paddle, I watched a head high set roll in and completely hollow out. Head high waves are one thing but a terminal velocity lip crashing on top of you is another. Remain calm. I got to the outside, waited for something, anything that looked catchable, paddled, paddled, failed. Paddled, failed. I kind of panicked without actually panicking, if that’s possible. I didn’t feel overly comfortable. But I wasn’t a tense wreck, either. After a while, the moon was higher than the sun and I lamely just rode white water into shore. Ian said it would be an adjustment, switching to a smaller board, so I didn’t expect much more, honestly. And in the beginning of the summer, I probably would have just gone home and eaten leftover pizza. At least I can say that my board’s been christened. And it certainly is one of the prettiest around. I know I’m not just biased because a random surfing stranger approached me at the pier and said, “That’s a really nice board.” I said, “I know.” Just kidding. I gushed like a little girl and told the guy how it’s new! I think 10 years of board loyalty (a.k.a. being poor) entitles me to do that, okay?