Surfing Safari Or Sausage In The Waves

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming back from a week away to an insurmountable ‘to do’ list. But because I consider blogging right up there with writing lesson plans, organizing my new kitchen and painting trim, you get the privilege of reading about my totally gnarly surfing experience. Yeah, we did other vacation-y things, made memories, blah, blah, blah. But really none of it, besides a couple of HUGE mullets I spotted on the boardwalk, are really as notable as me packed in a wet suit looking like a lumpy Vienna sausage, flopping and groaning across a surf board. Oh, in front of hot young shirtless gentlemen too.

I was sort of like this,

in front of hot young gentlemen, and numerous other strangers all much younger than me.

My oldest daughter Addie agreed to join me. We arrived bright and early in front of the 7th Street Surf Shop on the Boardwalk of Ocean City. After signing in, we were handed wet suits and told to pull them up to our waists. Now, the only swimsuit I have is skirted on the bottom. So, it didn’t matter how much I was sucking in, my skirt bunched up all around my butt and middle under the unforgiving cling of the wet suit. Meanwhile next to me, Barbara Bikini and her friends were sliding into their wetsuits with no effort while I was grunting, sweating,  stuffing and cursing like a smuggler getting ready to take drugs through an airport.

Then I was handed my “light practice board”, told to place it on my head all ‘Endless Summer’ style and walk across the boardwalk and down to the surf. I mistakenly assumed that because I carry children around all day, that carrying my “light practice board” would be no problem. This was when all my Hawaiian princess fantasy dreams started to crumble. I reached the sand out of breath and the water’s edge sweating and in pain. After handling a practice board, I’m convinced competitive surfers must hang ten on concrete.

We lined up our boards in two rows and prepared for instructions, which lasted about 15 minutes before we were sent into the waves. Having not yet recovered from carrying my “light practice board” I was dismayed to see the lifeguards were not yet on duty.

Once in the water, I was met by one of the hot young gentlemen who chatted with me and gave me pointers while I tried not to mouth breathe too much into his face. Then I hopped up on the board,  took several waves to the face,  swallowed and spat salt water and maintained a friendly conversation for a few minutes, snot hanging from my nose. Then the instructor spun me to face the shore and gave me a push once the next good wave appeared. Ideally, I was to jump up in one swift move and ride the wave to the shore. And on my first two attempts, I did actually make it to my feet on the board and ride a few feet before falling in. (Honest! ) Then I walked into shore and Addie went out to the instructor.  I laid on my board in the sand panting like a dog, trying to give her a thumbs up as she effortlessly rode a wave in.

Definitely not a sport for wusses…like me.

And then to my horror it was my turn again, and again and again. Each time I headed out, I joked about being too old and out of shape for this but the instructors encouraged me all the same and sent me in on a wave. However, my arms were weak and that one swift move began resembling  a drunk person trying to get up while holding onto a bar stool. I just fell right back down in no time, more clumsily with each attempt. I was lucky to get to my knees on the board before all my strength gave out. I think I was the example all the other moms on the beach were using with their own kids. “See honey, you don’t want me to try surfing with you. I’d just flail around out there like that poor woman. I wouldn’t want to humiliate you like that. Oh my goodness, she just doesn’t know when to quit does she? It’s better if I just stand here and take pictures.Try not to go out too close to her. I don’t want that train wreck in any of my vacation photos.”

Meanwhile Addie was a born natural, jumping up with ease and catching wave after wave.

It’s really easy Mama, let me show you.

Tony showed up to take some pictures all “Okay, I’m here now. Go surf.” and then he started snapping away. I really tried to summon all my strength for one last good showing,


but alas, this was the closest I came before sinking into the salty mire.

Jelly arms giving out…can’t hold on..much…longer

After an hour and a half of getting spanked by the ocean, I could now cross “embarrassing myself at surf lessons” off my bucket list. Thankfully, Addie was not ashamed to be seen with me afterwards. With only half a dozen rest stops on the way, we returned the equipment to the store.

Addie preparing to carry me and our surfboards back to the store.

The next day, and the day after and, honestly, most of the remaining trip I was sore through my entire upper body. I also acquired two ‘trophy’ bruises on my lower ribcage from how I laid on the board. (Which I guess means I did something wrong since I didn’t see bruises on any of the shirtless gentlemens’ chests.) However, I would like to try it again sometime and if I was ever fortunate enough to live at the beach I would make surfing my exercise routine…after investing in a non-skirted swimsuit.

Next year’s plan? Trapeze school in Atlantic City, so long as I don’t have to wear spandex.




  1. this is awesome. awesome. and you look much, much more svelte than, oh, probably 99% of other mothers who might try donning wetsuits over bathing skorts. Promise.

  2. These are awesome pictures! And you look like Addie’s slightly older sister in that last image-

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