The next time was a year or so later in Kauai for Sam's brother's wedding. I was awkwardly trying to paddle and catch a wave when suddenly a surfer came very close to me. I braced myself for a collision and offered up a hasty apology, cursing myself for being the lame newbie in the path of someone who clearly knew what he was doing. Instead of retorting with an insult, this Patron Saint of Novice Surfers reached down and, from his own board, yanked me by the arm up to my feet. I then rode the wave all the way in, feeling as stable as if I was on land. That was the only wave I caught that day.
Fast forward eleven years and the creation and addition of three children to the family, and we all found ourselves at Manly Beach for a surfing lesson. Kenyon isn't quite ready for surfing, so we drew names and paired up Sam and Jackson for one lesson while Alex and I took the next one a few weeks later.
If you're in the area, Manly Surf School is a must for learning to surf. First of all, the trip over is worthwhile--riding the famous ferry from Circular Quay over to Manly gives lovely views of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. Manly itself is an adorable town, and the beach itself is tops without feeling the least bit touristy. And the surf school? Awesome all around.
I loved having Alex in my class with me; here we are practicing the proper positioning on the board...
...and how we should hold the board while heading out in the water.
Sam grew up boogie boarding and body surfing in Santa Cruz, and he seemed to take to surfing nicely.
I had a ball, and got up more times than I could count, so Manly Beach will always hold a special place in my heart.
So, how did the kids fare? The way the knowledgeable, friendly instructors worked with my boys was simply stellar. You'd think that being a 7-year old in a class with a bunch of adults would be intimidating, but our instructor boosted Alex's confidence from the start, using him as an example of correct form on the beach and when we first got in the water.
And then he was off!
|Jackson catching a wave|
Surfing was a good time, and well worth the pain I'm feeling in my arms and chest today. But what really made it special was experiencing it with my family; yet another memory I am grateful for because of this year abroad.