I loved Gidget when I was young--Sally Field was just adorable, her best friend was a great foil, the dad was better than Bill Cosby (and he smoked a pipe!) and her wardrobe even beat my Barbie doll's in style points. And Gidget surfed.
Last week I mentioned my secret bucket list items--only secret because they're the sort of unreasonable wishes that don't bear mentioning. I haven't told people about them--not like "I want to be a published novelist"--no big secret there. When we planned our trip to the ocean, Mr. T asked if we'd go surfing. It had never crossed my mind to check it out, and when I did, I learned that the OBX are ranked 5th in the U.S. for great surf spots. We could certainly find lessons on the island and paddle out to catch a wave.
Team Testosterone and I met our surf instructor (picture a very young Heath Ledger with a little ponytail of golden curls) and drove out to a southern beach. He taught us the anatomy of a surfboard, how to lay on one and how to paddle. Then we paddled out to ride waves into shore on our stomachs--a sensation similar to sledding. He'd push our boards into the power of a wave so we could get the feel of letting the water carry us along.
After a few runs on our bellies, we returned to the beach to learn how to "pop up." Back to the water. Surfer dude (and people, he was a dude!) pushed my board into a wave first. I braced both palms against the board, slid my left foot forward and leaned back onto my right leg. A couple of old ladies stood knee-deep in the water near shore and clapped. I tried not to look down and stood. I was surfing! Until my board slowed and I wobbled to a graceless splash into the water.
Mr. T went next. My firstborn son, who gave up on his Heelys after half an hour, quit his skateboard after a week and insists his bike is the wrong size to ride popped up out of the water and glided into shore like he'd been surfing for decades. It had to be beginner's luck. The other two looked more like their mama, a brief moment of balance before tumbling down.
Subsequent attempts improved my "hang time." The other two got a little better at it, too. Mr. T--it was no beginner's luck for him. He surfed as naturally as he breathes--just pops up, stands back and lets the wave pull him to shore. Really incredible. I said as much to the surf instructor. He considered this while watching Mr. T ride the wave and remarked, "Maybe the ocean is his dojo."
Spill it, reader. What's your dojo?