Conclusion: Any activity with “board” in its name is going to involve some level of discomfort.
1. Water Boarding – I’m still not really clear on how this works, but apparently it’s so mean that we’re not even supposed to do it to terrorists. I will however endorse it for use on bratty children.
2. Snowboarding – I tried this a couple years ago. Really. Search the archives because I’m too lazy to look it up for you. Come on, show some initiative. Anyway, it was a lot of fun once I got the hang of it, but it had a very steep learning curve and the first two days were the most painful days of my life since giving birth.
3. Skateboarding – I’ve seen enough youtube videos to determine that this can be a very painful activity, particularly when you land on your testicles.
4. Board Exams – I’ve seen people get so intense in studying for these that you could shatter them with a flick of your finger.
Despite this knowledge, we decided to take some surfing lessons while in Costa Rica. After a briefing on the beach covering the basics – paddle, turn around, wait for a tasty wave, and stand up – we hit the water. Actually there was a specific position to lay on the board and three steps to standing up, but it still wasn’t bunion surgery.
I paddled out, got a push off onto a manageable wave, precisely followed the three steps, and was standing up my first time. I got a little cocky and started playing air guitar to the surf music in my head and was quickly rewarded with a wipeout just short of the shoreline. I was a natural. This was clearly the greatest sport ever and I would make plans to move to Hawaii to join the senior professional surfing circuit and spend my off days giving surf lessons to fabulous babes on vacation.
Then I had to paddle out again. And again. And again. I’d spend about 10 minutes paddling and then fighting the current to get to our instructor to get a push off, at which point I was so tired that the simple three steps to standing up now looked more like an arthritic octogenarian trying to get out of bed without the assistance of his Craftmatic adjustable bed. Quickly followed by plunge into the water, getting hit by the next wave, swallowing a pint of ocean, and then using any remaining energy to climb back on the board for the next round. It was still fun, but with diminishing returns such that when he said it was the last time I didn’t argue.
I paddled out for my last ride and then watched him follow GiGi, the 17 year-old girl in our group, all the way in, clearly forgetting about me and leaving me like a stranded toddler on a swingset waiting for a push. Timing the waves on my own was not nearly as easy and I spent most of the time just paddling my way back in. If this had been a scuba trip, I’m pretty sure I would have just been eaten by sharks.