Surfing in the USA

We met a very nice family at the URC we are attending here a couple of weeks ago. Eva and Matt and their two kids live down in Ventura, CA and commute to Pasadena on Sunday for church. Ventura is about an hour and a half North West from here where you can find some of the best surfing in Southern California. They gave us an open invitation to visit them for lunch whenever we wanted to make the drive up. Ventura is a little farther than we normally drive to visit people for lunch, but we got along very well and thought it would be an excellent excuse to see a bit of California’s coast and to take the girls to the beach. So since today (Saturday) was supposed to be a beautiful warm day we made it a date.

We arrived at the beach in Ventura  just before 11:30am (lunch was at 12:30pm).  We had so much fun with the girls skipping rocks and running along the beach that we decided to take advantage of what felt like a vacation and go back after lunch with Eva and Matt. So we hopped back into the van and drove for about 5 minutes to their place. We had such a wonderful time chatting with them and Sydney and Norah had a great time playing with Julia (3)and Joel (1). We let them know that we intended to head back to enjoy the beach and since we were having a great time we invited them to come along with us. We then found out that Mat loves water. He surfs and teaches water polo in his spare time. Before kids he surfed everyday; now he gets out a little less, but he was excited to teach us how to surf if we wanted. If we want to? YEAH We Want to! So they packed up their kids and surf boards and took us to his favourite beach about 10 minutes away. When we got there it was easy to see why it was their favourite. It was stunning. We parked and walked along a lovely bay and harbour area lined with lovely houses on a board walk that lead to the beach. The sand was plush and the ocean sparkled. Oh it was nice to see the Pacific again!

Richard was sweet enough to let me go surfing first. So I suited up (the suit was a tad big since it was meant for a man of 6ft 2 and heaftier stature than I, though it was not such a bad fit as one would think…. ) Providentially, that afternoon’s waves were mild. Most of the time the waves are too large for beginners. Today was perfect. I was out there for half an hour or so. Matt gave me some tips and showed me how to feel the waves and paddle hard to keep up with the speed of the wave (I wasn’t very good at that part. The waves I did catch were caught because he gave me a push start… note to self, do more push-ups!). Surfing is quite hard, though not so difficult that a beginner can’t get a taste for surfing and want to go again). I managed to get up onto the board in time to ride two waves! Tubular, dudes! Other times I wasn’t fast enough to get onto the board (if you paddle fast enough, you stay ahead of the wave just long enough to get onto the board), or I lost balance and fell off too soon, sending the board soaring through the air. Oh man. It was great! And those wet suits are a fantastic invention. I want one just for swimming! The water is really cold here (colder than you would think), but walking into the water was a cinch with it on. The normal, slow, almost unbearable decent into cold water was eliminated! Only they don’t cover your feet so they go numb with cold. Anyway, when it was Richard’s turn we walked back to shore. Mat offered to carry the board. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how tired I was. I was relieved that he offered to carry it back and gladly gave up the board. Surfing is a workout! A workout so fun that you don’t notice until you drop dead on the beach… good thing I wasn’t out too long on my first day.

Richard was up next. He caught two waves as well (a tie… but I’m not competitive) though one time in particular he managed to stay on his board for quite a while. It was great. I was quite proud of my guy. My hot surfer guy! He and Matt stayed out there for quite a while chatting mostly about technique…I’m sure. As the sun set the sky turned orange, pink and yellow and the beach changed from a dull yellow to a bright golden colour. The funny thing about California (any desert for that matter) is that once the sun goes down that 70-80 degree day turns into a 40 degree night! It is amazing how fast the temperature drops. As we watched the guys on the waves and the beautiful sky change, it started to get pretty cold (at least for those in bathing suits) so we clothed the kids, fed them and waited  for our men to finish.

With still cold feet we walked back down the board walk, waved goodbye to the boats in the harbour, listened to the peace of the waves lapping against the shore, and with deep breath took in what the last of the day had to offer – peace. God is good.

The girls were so tired they both fell asleep almost immediately. It was a great day. Richard and I drove to our Pasadena home in the dark, tired and happy. Today was a well needed vacation. Thank you Eva and Matt!

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2 responses to “Surfing in the USA

  1. Felicia

    This sounded like it was alot of fun! Andy thinks he would be good at surfing (so humble hey;-) ). I am glad you had such a good day off, and I just wanted to say “Do it again”…so my brother Richard can loose some of that whiteness!!!! WOW!:-D

  2. We would love to do it again if we get the opportunity! Don’t worry about Richard, by the next day he already looked tanned
    I hope our kids have your dutch genes because it takes me an entire summer to get a tan! Quite annoying really…maybe more so because my husband can coop himself up in the dark for 364 days out of the year and venture out on the 365th and get a tan! But yes, I do need to make sure he gets out more 😉

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