Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Surfing on Mission Beach

This past weekend we took a family trip to San Diego for the Labor Day weekend.  In addition to hanging out at the hotel pool and goofing around on the beach, me and the girls enrolled in a surfing lesson.

I did a web search and gave Ocean Experience a call.  They were really friendly over the phone and I decided to go ahead and book with them.  On Sunday they offered 3 hour lessons starting at 9 AM and 1 PM.  We enrolled in the 9 AM lesson.

Arriving at Mission Beach, we met up with our 4 other classmates (a couple in their 30's and 2 men in their early 20's).  We also met Elise and Tim who would be our instructors.

The first 1.5 hours were on land and we discussed and practiced balance, glide and the pop-up.  We used Indo Boards, foam rollers and those balance pads to simulate what the board would feel like on the water.  Key points include keeping the upper body loose, head focused where you want to go, soft knees bent in towards each other.  We started with the Indo board on the balance pad and then the foam roller.  Left foot forward is considered right footed surfing.  Right foot forward is considered goofy footed surfing.  It should match what you do on a snow board or skate board as well as matching how you enter a cart wheel, with the strongest foot in the back.

We learned the pop-up in reverse.  In order it would go from paddling (with body in arced position), to gliding (pressing the torso up with hands below chest and feet elevated), to the back foot forward, lead foot forward, diamond position on the board to standing.  After practicing on the ground a few times, we went through the diamond to standing position on the Indo board.

Now it was time to get on the water.  We donned shorty wetsuits.  I was pleasantly surprised that they had kids sizes.  We also got a rash guard to identify ourselves as part of the class.  Before getting on the water we also discussed wave selection (do not go for doubles) and riptides and how to swim out of them (swim parallel to the shore).  Then we were off.  This was incredibly difficult and on the few times I actually paddled correctly and started to glide, I only managed to get to my diamond position once.  The kids fared much better and my wife captured some video which I will be adding to this post.  Aside from having a tremendous amount of sea water in my sinuses, it was actually fun to learn something new.  I think it would take a month of practice everyday to get the hang of it and probably a couple of more lessons.

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