Learning to Surf With Corky Carroll
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I'd like to say sun flooded us with a warm glow that morning.
That we could barely make out orangey rays peeking through holes in clouds. I'd like to say that my feet and skin welcomed daybreak, but unfortunately this wasn't case.
It was an August Monday morning, and as I nervously walked onto Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach, California, I was greeted by a bitter chill and a slight drizzle. It was gray and cold. So cold, that I couldn't understand why anyone would want to get into an even chillier water in an attempt to surf. But surfing isn't about lazy warm afternoons or playing in water. It's about style and technique. It's about love; something I would soon learn.
I have signed up for group lesson, and I took cover under tarp where I was welcomed by blonde haired, deeply tanned Rick Walker, Corky Carroll Surf School Director. After introducing myself, I felt comforted by his raspy voice and amazing enthusiasm. For next 45 minutes or so, rest of students and I listened to Rick's wisdom on importance of safety, direction and technique in water. One of more interesting things I noticed during his enlightening and slightly comical routine was fact that majority of students were about 15 years younger than I and about half my size. Naturally I bonded with a few surfers more my age as we were lined up in order of height. Feeling more comfortable now, I was ready and willing to give my first attempt at surfing an embarrassing try.
We were separated in groups of about four or five, each with a different instructor. Smiling and a little out of breath, an instructor by name of Brian showed up soaked from all ready surfing. After that came pivotal moment that made me understand how anyone in their right mind could be out here surfing in these gloomy conditions, I was given a wet suit.
Corky Carroll's Surfing School provided us with wet suits, pre-waxed surfboards and professional instructors. Brian told me that some of instructors here have been competing in international competitions for years. He, on other hand, only gives surfing lessons during summers. During rest of year he is an academic teacher.
"Sometimes I'm having so much fun out here that I forget I'm working," he said. I responded with a smile and a nod as he proceeded to get each of us correct board. Soon came dreaded moment of entering water. My new buddies and I strutted our way down beach to an open area where we could learn surfing basics safely. With echoes of Baywatch theme song in back of my head I entered water.