As excited as I was to get back on a surfboard, I was more excited for my kids to try surfing. I didn’t want them to be like me and take up surfing late in life. I wanted them to learn while they were young, while they still had all the advantages of low center of gravity, flexibility and fearlessness.
We had talked about it briefly a few times before our trip. Jasper’s answer typically was a non-committal shrug of the shoulder while Everett typically gave me a death stare as if how could I even dare ask him such a crazy question.
We didn’t really talk about it much until the day or two before the lessons were scheduled. We showed the kids some videos, trying to convince them that “this will be so fun!” I struck a deal with Jasper that he just had to try a surfing lesson once and if he didn’t like it, he didn’t have to try again. Everett remained unconvinced.
On the beach, we met Rosie – a sweet girl in her early 20s who would be the boys’ teacher. She told me that she would ride tandem with Everett while Jasper would be on his own board. Then, she began her lesson, explaining to Jasper how to paddle, how to pop-up on the surfboard and how to stand.
“When you’re done riding a wave, just turn the board around, get back on and paddle back out again.”
“Don’t stand on the coral or kick too hard. You could hurt your foot.”
“If you’re standing on the board and you see someone coming towards you, just try to go the other way. Don’t look at them because then you will go straight into them.”
“If you fall off your board, just cover your head.”
I swear, she bombarded him with a ton of information within a span of 5-10 minutes. I could see a bit of fear and apprehension begin to creep into his eyes. I could feel his body start to curl inward with doubt and sink deeper into the sand. Meanwhile, Everett started reiterating to me that he was not going to go surfing.
All I could think was that this wasn’t going to go well.
It was time for me to go with my instructor. I gave them both kisses on the top of their heads.
As I paddled out, I looked back and saw them – Rosie and Everett on one board and Jasper on a separate board. As my own anxiety about being in the open water started to surface, and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.
OMG what am I doing? How could I leave my kids like that? At least Everett was in a life jacket.
I wanted to think that it was all in my head and that the kids would be fine. I did not want to doubt their abilities. I didn’t want to project my fear and anxiety onto them. After all, Rosie has taught lots of kids to surf. She knew what she was doing. Right??!
I was really scared that something would happen and then I was really scared about how Jasper would handle himself or if he would be able to. I mean, I was scared. Wouldn’t the boys be scared too? I tried calculating in my head how quickly I would be able to get from where I was to the shore in case something happened.
As I sat out the back and waited for a wave, I scared the water in search of the boys. When I saw them, I saw that all three of them – Rosie, Jasper and Everett – were all on the same board together. Thank goodness. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And when I looked at them, they only had smiles on their faces.
When we got back to the beach, they couldn’t stop talking about how much fun they had, even when they wiped out. Everett kept telling me over and over how when another instructor passed by she said, “Looking good 1 and 2!”
They were very proud of themselves.
We took the boys out surfing two more times and they each went out individually with Rosie to surf. They were a little more brave each time they went out in the water. Jasper kept wanting to go back out again and again.
I loved seeing their expression on their faces when they try something new, especially if it’s something that they weren’t sure if they would be able to do. I loved seeing their self-confidence start to grow.
They both already love being in the water but I hope that this brings a new dimension, love and appreciation for the ocean.
When we were at the beach in Hawaii, I noticed how all the kids played in the water on body boards and boogie boards and how they tried to body surf. I was struck by how at ease they felt in the water. They seem to have a completely different relationship with the water and ocean. There’s a big part of me that wishes that my kids will have a similar kind of relationship. Of course, there’s a bit part of me that hopes that they will continue to surf.
Read more about our trip to Hawaii:
- 16 Lessons I Learned on Summer Vacation
- Finally Surfing
- Life Jacket Required – Lessons from Snorkeling
- Learning to Disconnect and Listen
- Sunrise Surf, Yoga Sutras and Mantras
More Ways to Follow Love, Life, Surf