Surfin’ USA

I was just going along for the ride. Never been surfing in my life, had no intention of starting now. The sun was shining, the skies blue, smiling people in wetsuits were coming and going, their board on top of their car, sticking out of their trunk, tucked under their arm, or in some cases haphazardly secured to their bikes…, I couldn’t help myself: I wanted to be part of it all, and before I came to my senses I jumped right in and asked if there was room for one more. Sure enough; the ocean is big, the surf store guy didn’t mind earning the extra money: I was in. Way over my head, I feared, but feeling a thrilling sensation in my stomach.
It really was a gorgeous day; the color of the grass, the sky, sea and sand…, it was all quite breathtaking. A sensation that would be experienced several times during the next couple of hours, although in a more concrete way…
Our instructors were friendly and welcoming, looking just like surf instructors are supposed to look; lean, tanned, hair bleached by year round exposure to sea and sun. In this area there is no such thing as off season; it never gets really cold, and with a wetsuit you are prepared for most kinds of weather conditions.
Donning the darn suit was surprisingly difficult, though. We struggled to get into the uncompromisingly stiff, unyielding  and heavy contraption, helping each other as best as we could, occasionally getting pointers about which way to wear the thing, how to close the zipper in the back, pulling the collar over the head and closing the whole thing at the neck without suffocating (yet another sensation that would become fairly familiar a little later).
When we were all eventually properly dressed for the occasion, we nodded and looked approvingly at each other, and as best as we could, ourselves. We felt pretty smart and perky. How hard could this surfing thing be? I mean, after all, we were Norwegians, practically born with skies attached to our feet.
It turned out it could be hard, really hard…

The beginning was encouraging, and just a tad misleading, though: The first few times we, more or less elegantly, managed to get up and stay upright on the board for quite a while. We laughed and smiled confidently at each other.

Then it was time to hit the water…

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