I Had To Catch It

January 6, 2010
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I’ve heard stories from old surf movies and my uncle of how surf began and how it was expressed like riding on nature. I also heard of what a surfer calls “the wave of his or her life.” But I didn’t know that I was going to have mine this summer at Cardiff-by-the-sea, San Diego, California

“ Adam time to wake up” my mom whispered as she opened up the door to my room. Our trip had officially begun to San Diego California. The 4:30 am wake up was rough.

I felt queasy but I knew it would be paradise when I arrive at Hotel California. At the airport our flight was arriving on time and soon enough we boarded onto the plane. I took one last breath of air as I stepped onto the plane. I personally, always disliked flying even though we traveled so often, it must have been because I felt like I was cramped up to long and for some reason I disliked the smell.

Fortunately the flight had been an all time record low for all the time’s I’ve been on the flight from New York City to California.

We gathered our bags as we went to baggage claim and went down the escalator into the arms of Uncle Dooger. My uncle was a very good surfer and has surfed his entire life, he is a cancer surviver and came in first place in the Hawaii long boarding contest that funded the cure for Cancer. He wrapped my sister and I in a bear hug and asked me if I was ready to rip, tear, and lacerate, I nodded and smiled. I had decided at that time that I was going to give surfing full consideration this year. We arrived at my Uncle’s beautiful beach house in Cardiff-by-the-sea California. Or as we usually call it, Hotel California. It was a magnificent house, it had a deck on top with a great view of the ocean and the sunset, they also had many fascinating plants around their yard. Their house was even in the San Diego Garden Tour and was on the front page. My aunt greeted me as I walked in. I unpacked my things and we ate some of my Aunt Sonia’s delicious sandwiches and chatted for the first day. I stayed up all night watching my uncle’s surf videos. I was fascinated. That morning I picked out my surfboard, a 6 foot 8 inch board that was considered short and fat but also very pointy, I felt like it was the board made for me. I ate breakfast and soon enough we were heading to our first day at the beach. I did have some past experience with surfing but nothing major, just standing up in a broken wave and riding it on my uncle’s longboard and trying to move that huge board around. One thing I did know was that I was good at standing up very quickly and my balance was also very good. For the first day I decided I would just catch broken waves and warm up...

“Yes I’m going to ride the wave of my life today,” I thought as I walked outside.

It was a foggy day, you couldn’t see a thing, it was like Hotel California was engulfed in a giant cloud. It was the middle of the summer and the temperature had dropped considerably. No one wanted to go to the beach except my uncle and I. We hopped into the ground hog day wagon, an old beat up truck, and drove down to the huge rail road tracks. We crossed them. I was anxious but not scared. The waves we’re supposedly eight feet tall from the back which meant looking up at them that they were sixteen feet tall breaking with great conditions. My Uncle said there was a swell from down south that had come to Cardiff. We reached the giant stair case that descended onto the beach. The waves we’re breaking basically on the bottom of the stairs. As we descended I was amazed at how big the waves were but at also how it was so foggy that you couldn’t even see any surfers. We squeezed ourselves into our wet suits and slowly walked into the water. It felt like ice as we paddled and my hands became numb in minutes. But I kept going on through the enormous waves, duck diving and turtling just to make sure that the wave wouldn’t pick me up and push me back, or even flip me. For what seemed like eternity I had made it to my uncle, sitting where the waves were breaking.

“Adam turn around start paddling...hard, go” He told me. I steered my board around using my feet and then begin paddling. I didn’t look behind myself because I didn’t want to get intimidated by what I assumed was a huge wave I was about to ride. I thought back about those hours of watching those surfer’s leaning into the wave and turning on the back of the board and how they would ride down the face of the wave. I paddled fast. Suddenly I heard the sound of rushing water. The wave had picked me up, my stomach churned in a nervous reaction... My human instincts reacted, I stood up like a rocket. I sped down the wave. I turned when I thought I might go straight down. I rode back up the wave. Then made a super sharp turn that made me almost fall off but miraculously I cruised back down the wave. As I felt that I was going to drop out of the wave I walked up to the edge of my board and hanged 5 with one foot over the edge and one nearly right behind it. I back peddled to the back of the board and did a series of turns again. The wave started to get walled up. It was about to slam me down. I made the sharpest turn in my life and did a 180 steering myself out of it. It was the most exhilarating feeling of my life. The surfers we’re whooping and on my uncle’s face was a big smile. I was proud.

I had done it. I had caught the wave of my life, I had made my uncle happy. I had proved myself and others that I’m a very good surfer. I had done it.

Since that point I’ve been officially surfing for two years now. Now when I go to surf with my uncle I go with his friends from when he was my age and we all surf together. I always seem to be the youngest guy out in the ocean, probably because the waves I surf are gigantic. I now always look forward to surfing. I even started to ask my family wherever we vacationed if there was surf there and if we could rent boards. I had started to end my idea of going to Ohio State and now I wanted to go to a college out west. My new goal, Stanford. I had also raised up a maturity level and had started to want to go to my uncle’s house before my parents got out there so I could surf longer.

I had answered my uncle’s question. Yes Uncle Dooger, I’m going to rip tear and lacerate.

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