09.01.2003 (Monday), 11:30 PM

Come On Baby Surfin' Safari

...everybody's learning how....except ME!

Day Four of Bill and Jan in Costa Rica

I woke up dreading this day. 3 pm was the bewitching hour. The "Bill-still-can't-get-up" free surf lesson. Heh, I can beat this. "Hey Jan, let's go rent some bikes and tour the town!", sez I, plotting to be too damn tired by doing that as to have to "miss" my surf lesson. So we did just that. Around lunch (at the Smiling Dog Taco Stop--deeeeelicious, BTW), I started feeling that I had to just go out and do it. Whether I stood up on a board or not wasn't the issue--it was that I made the effort.

I got to the shop (Jan decided that she had seen enough of me falling on my face and did other stuff) and was told that I was the only on today. Yahoo! 1-on-1 action. Then Tina showed up. OK, same deal as yesterday. Bill bats .000 and Tina gets up on the second try and rides one in all the way to the sand on the fourth try. Great. (Tina's was a very cool girl though and encouraging me constantly...she was very good as well for someone who had been just doing this for a few days...)

We get out and are also joined by a third student (John, from parts unknown) and it was like re-writing yesterday's script. My knee stuck to the board. I did manage to ride several like that for 5-10 seconds and I had to be satisfied with that. I learned something extremely valuable though: surfing has one hell of a lot in common with aikido AND riding a motorcycle.

Aikido: staying centered and balanced.
Riding a motorcycle: staying centered and balanced.
Surfing: Well, duh!

If you had to line up these activities on a timeline denoting easiest to hardest, they would go: motorcycle / surfing / aikido . Aikido and surfing require tons of repetition until the motions become second nature. When I started learning aikido, I was pretty frustrated with not being able to learn fast enough. Don't worry, I was told, just do about 100,000 repetitions of each technique and you'll be on your way to learning it. It seems that in order to learn surfing that I'll have to do the same thing. I can't wait until I have another chance. Maybe I'll start looking into wetsuits when I get home...

Posted by wjc