Teaching Gidget, Jr. to Surf

It’s the first head-high swell in months, and of all days, today is the day she asks me to take her out in the water and teach her how to surf?

Why, why, why did I say yes?

I can’t back out now. I’m a man of my word. I told her I’d take her out. Is it too late to tell her no?

I can tell her that it won’t be safe to go out because of the high tide and short intervals and high surf.

Being in a new relationship with a girl who wants to learn how to surf might sound romantic, but with it carries a heavy burden.

Relationships require sacrifice, and today I felt both like the proverbial sacrificial lamb and Jesus hanging from the cross. I sacrificed catching head-high waves that today gave surfers rides as long as a Manhattan cab ride.

And for someone who thinks catching a head-high wave and carving back and forth and smacking the lip is a feeling better than that of coitus, my forgoing catching head-high perfect slides to teach some Shelia to surf is proof in the pudding of my sacrificing.

Well, if she wanted to surf, I was going to show her how— at a beach break, not too kind to beginners.

That’d be the last time she would ask me to go surf with her on heavy days!

We paddled out at a beach break known more for its pounding bodysurfing waves, than solid-form standup waves. Actually, I didn’t paddle; I swam out with her and pushed her board into the waves and barked orders at her to tell her when to pop up onto her feet.

Blowing my own horn, I’ll say I did a good job coaching her. Within a few minutes time, she was adeptly whipping her board around, getting into position, with as much dexterity as a cowboy.

She’s got natural potential. I have a new nickname for her: Gidget, Jr. She’s about as tall (short), cute and fearless as Kathy Kohner (the original Gidget), whose nickname, given by a Malibu beach boy in the 1950s, is a combination of girl and midget.

Gidget, Jr. fearlessly paddled through the impact zone, laughing as she was tossed off her board, yanked down to the sandbar like an alligator sinking its prey in a death ride.

There were a couple surprisingly large set waves that prompted me to instruct her to bail off her board and dive for the bottom. She swallowed a lot of water and was humbled by the ocean for a few minutes. She was like a James Bond martini: shaken, but not too stirred.

She displayed a lot of potential—balancing is easy for her. She’ll pick up this sport quick.

Who knows, maybe Gidget, Jr. will be the star of Blue Crush 3 and I’ll get to brag to my friends that I taught her how to surf.

So from now on, when she wants to go surf with me, do I have to watch over her and paddle out right next to her to make sure she doesn’t get pounded in the impact zone? Do I tell her exactly where to line up every time? Do I have to tell her which way to go? Do I yell at her like a drill sergeant or a menacing football coach, say someone like Cowboys coach Bill Parcells? “Paddle harder!”

This is what you’re supposed to do when you’re dating someone who’s learning to surf, right?

Well, I guess you don’t have to do anything. If I want to, I can tell her I just don’t feel like it today, and I’ll take her out some other day.

But as much as it pains me to let a rare day of head-high surf go by without riding it, I should be stoked that the girl I’m dating is learning how to surf, right?

If I’m thinking about the present and my selfish needs, then I have a worse attitude about the situation, namely, the sickening feeling that I could be having ecstatic sensations catching some perfect waves right now.

But if I treat this as an investment in the future, then it might just be worth it. If we’re still together in, say, a couple years, she’ll be good enough to surf overhead waves and we’ll be able to take surfing roadtrips together.

I’ve never dated a surfer chick before. I think it would be a lot of fun to share some waves with a significant other.

If she gets stoked on surfing, then she’ll understand why surfing is my reason for being. She’ll understand why I place such a high importance on it in my life.

Then I’ll be able to make excuse after excuse.

“Honey, I thought you were going to sweep the driveway today.”

“Come on baby, you saw how good the surf was today. The lefts were epic!”

I guess I’m a little jaded over relationships right now. I think part of the reason stemmed from my last serious relationship. The “X” raised a concern that she wasn’t sure if I’d be the kind of guy who wouldn’t help with the kids, and would want to go surfing instead.

I mean come on, talk about a low blow. I mean, yeah, surfing is my religion and I’m just as passionate about it as Muslims walking around the Kaba, that black monolith in Mecca.

But I would never abscond into the surf, eschewing the changing of poopy-diapers just to go surf. I will be a solid dad, patiently waiting until my child is old enough to stand, then I’d be able to teach my little one surfing.

I’m still hurt by that allegation that the X would end up being a surf widow.

But let’s bury the past. I should be stoked that the new girl in my life wants to learn how to surf. Evidently, for the recent X, surfing was not going to be the tie that binded us.

Perhaps it will be with Gidget, Jr. …

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