Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bring it Wikiki!

Sometimes I get stuck working the weekends. I try and limit this awful behavior to only customers that I believe will be NOT wasting my time. This means they have the means (cash) and mindset (pressure) to buy something. If I work with someone for an entire weekend and there's no contract by Sunday afternoon I feel like I've just D.N.F.'ed a race.

This happened one recent weekend. Both days experienced good surf in the mornings and blown out conditions in the afternoons. Both days I worked in the mornings. I even put off my long run until Monday morning. By Sunday late afternoon I was frustrated at being foolishly suckered into working the weekend with this costumer that now wants to wait until the Fall to buy something. I can't blame the guy -- financially it makes more sense for him. But, I'm still out two days with no exercise!

A visiting friend from Denmark text messaged me saying he was still on the beach and Jenny and I decided we'd go hang out with him the last few hours of daylight. I threw the two SUP boards on top of the Jeep and we were off. The beach was wind swell choppy as expected and after taking a look it didn't look good for either of them to attempt a paddle out on one of these beast of a boards.

We hung out for a bit shooting the breeze and then I had an idea. What if Jenny and I paddled out together on one SUP board? Tandem? That way I could control things and make wave decisions. The more I thought about it the more I liked it. Next thing I know I'm carrying one of the SUPs down to the surf with no paddle. Jenny's right behind me as we walk out waste deep. The water is aquamarine with more visibility than average. It's beautiful despite the chop.

I have her jump up on the mid-section of the board like she is going to knee-paddle (although she's never need paddled before) and I jump up on the tail section so I can manage our center of gravity and keep us from periling. We get into a pattern of paddling together and start punching through several small walls of white wash. It's amazing how fast we're moving paddling together. Jenny thinks she isn't contributing, but I know better because we're moving faster than I can paddle this thing alone.

We sit on the outside a while and I study the ocean. The waves are coming in sets of 3 or 4 and they're slightly crossed up. Not unusual for New Smyrna Inlet. Nobody is out but us. Jenny thinks people are staring at us from the beach. I could care less. I turn us into a wave and yell, "paddle!"

The timing is off, the wave breaks early and a wall of whitewash engulfs us.

I make a mental adjustment for our timing and we nail the next wave. I don't turn us, but let the board go straight as I hop up to my feet. "Stand up," I yell at Jenny. She's still on her knees. I can hear her laugh and know she's stoked. I pull her up to her feet by her arms and there we are surfing this choppy knee high wave for all it's worth - her goofy and me regular. We surf almost to the sand for quite a long ride. Jenny turns around smiling ear to ear and simply says, "again!"

It was amazing how easy it was on such a stable board and how I could control everything from the tail section. On several waves I had to almost lean my entire body off the tail to keep us from periling on the drop-in. Jenny's weight counter-acted mine and kept us from stalling. There's a few mental adjustments to make, but for the most part surfing tandem is a blast and not too difficult given the right conditions. Our combined weight of around 280 pounds was nothing the SUP board couldn't handle. It was only after that I realized how doing this could be an amazing learning tool for beginner surfers. Jenny made a few comments about how intense the paddle into each wave was from her perspective and how when she watches other surfers it looks easy. Then I realized that by doing this she was seeing the surfing experience basically through my eyes - the timing, the positioning, the decision making, all of it. What a great learning tool I've stumbled upon!

We'll definitely be doing this again!