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August 24, 2003

Salt and Glitter

Today I carried a long fiberglass board down a treacherous dirt path, my black flipflops hot from the sun above me and the dark sand below. I brought nothing with me but the board and my shoes, and before the sand could burn my bare feet they were cooling in the shallow waves. As I cleared the first small breaks, the board gliding effortlessly over the whitewater, tingles of excitement mixed with the chill of the ocean to shorten my breath. For the first time ever, I was paddling out into the salt as a surfer.

When I paddled back in, a solid 4 hours later, my fingertips were wrinkled, my skin was red, my eyes were swollen and my throat was dry and raw. Though I could do little more than wipe my nose and spit into the sand, I felt good.

Learning to surf actually means wiping out as many times as you possibly can, in an attempt to scramble up onto a moving platform. For my first day, I took in several gallons of saltwater through the nose, tumbling end over end and bouncing of the ocean's sandy bottom as I unsuccessfully kick towards the surface. I got stuck in kelp, stubbed my toes on rocks, and got blasted by unseen breakers. Worst of all, I got nailed in the head three times by my own surfboard as it whipped by me in the water. Man, that *really* hurts.

But I did catch some waves.. on my knees, on my stomach, on my ass, and (for a split-second at a time) on my feet. Most of my time was spent paddling like hell against the waves to get back out to the spot where I could ride them in. The rides were fast and crazy, and I squeaked with mixed delight and fear before I tumbled off into the foam.

So, now I am officially a surfer. A horrible one, granted, but a surfer nonetheless. I no longer need to be classified as a non-surfer, and today I have the bruises, welts, and quivering limbs to back it up. yeeha.

End of day: Run home from beach, shower, scarf down frozen spaghetti, head off to the theatre. Ashley, myself, and the Best Friend caught a 9pm performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch - the live show. It was ridiculously good, and a phenomenal display of vocal athleticism. Plus, ain't nothing wrong with beautiful, talented boys with accents in beautiful, sparkly makeup. I like this. Yes I do.

So now I'm home again in San Diego. My home, where I now live. My arms and legs are still shaking pretty hard from the activity of the day. I can feel sleep heavy on my head, clouds rolling in behind my eyes. Inside, where it doesn't take any energy, I am a bit excited at the possibility of crashing out for a full night of sleep. If I am successful here, I will have Her Majesty the Ocean to thank. Perhaps I will dream of the glittery British boy that's out there for me ... somewhere.

Posted by kati at August 24, 2003 12:23 AM


once again you fill my mind with lovely images of sparkling boys. thanks, kati, you're the best. keep on truckin' down there in s.d. =)

Posted by: erica at August 24, 2003 02:21 PM

Katie, I have always been facinated by surfing but afraid for the very reasons that you described in your various wipeouts. I admire you for trying out....maybe I will too. I am so very close to the ocean after all....

Posted by: nuala at August 24, 2003 10:27 PM

Well Nuala, that is what I figured as well. I thought it would be sad to live so close to the sea and not take advantage and learn something. But I'll warn you, learning to surf is hardcore and scary - you just have to keep reminding yourself that the odds are good that you won't be seriously hurt. I am well aware that I have several more wipeout-only sessions ahead of me before I can really call myself a surfer. I am hoping that if I keep it up, I will be a little tougher by the end of it.

Posted by: kati at August 25, 2003 02:37 PM

I'm sure you'll end up being a pro at it eventually, plus even with the wipeouts it sounds like you enjoy it....Let's see if I can get enough gumption up to try

Posted by: nuala at August 25, 2003 03:29 PM

oh good lord. why is it you tiny little bird-women who are out there getting trounced? you know, they call them BREAKERS for a reason.

I am impressed by your bravery. but I am afraid for your life. for god's sake, rent the little mermaid if you MUST undergo ocean-related suffering.

(well actually I liked the little mermaid.)

Posted by: didofoot at August 25, 2003 03:51 PM

I just had a shower, and the complete bodily coverage of my bruises startled me. I can't tell you why it's so appealing to be trounced by large waves, but it just seems to be. Nuala, I fully support you getting your tiny little bird-self out there. The wipeouts aren't really that bad. And Kristen, I can't wait until you come down here to visit so I can drag you, kicking and screaming, out into the breakers with me.

Posted by: kati at August 25, 2003 03:59 PM

i'll go surfing! i like bruises!

Posted by: michele at August 25, 2003 05:27 PM

it's on! Get down here!

Posted by: kati at August 26, 2003 03:10 AM

I'm so jealous of the warm water you get to play in! And your gumption! Damn girl, you go. Just be careful. There's no lumpia in heaven...Or is there???

Posted by: cody at August 26, 2003 10:59 PM