After the crazy 1st day I woke up early in the morning, again with the amazing ocean view from my window. Can you imagine that costed my only 65$ per week?
A few years ago, I promised myself that I would go jogging around each place which was a new temporary home. Too bad that after several days the place is not so new anymore and this is how I constantly break up with this sport. But at least it’s not such a bad way to get to know the area… And that was my plan for this morning. Also, the day before I set up a meeting with this worker from a bank – Julian to go jogging together…
I spoke with Daria for a bit, moaning about the fact that I might take one surf lesson to know the basics. But she talked me out of it saying that I shouldn’t spend money I didn’t have those days and that I would meet a handsome and young surfer who would be glad to teach me anyway… Well, she was almost right…
Around 9 o’clock, I put on my flip-flops to left them near the beach so I can feel sand underneath my feet. I was waiting for Julian for 10 minutes but he didn’t show up. I decided to go by myself. After a quick warm up I run into the closest surf spot (Cowells). I realized that a beginner spot was 5 minutes from my house and because of the high tight the beach didn’t exist anymore. There were stairs leading to the top of the cliff, so I got wet a little and jump through the water to get there. I passed several people walking downstairs with boards. God, I was so jealous! And there I was, back on the West Cliff again. This time I had a chance to have a closer look on everything. Cheerful people, statue of surfer, light house, another surf spot.
Honestly it was hard to run on the pavement so after a while I had to turn back. I stopped by the light house to rest. Suddenly a bald guy around his 40s reprimanded me that it was not very healthy to run without shoes… But he seemed like a nice guy so I had a chat with him for a bit. I didn’t notice that he was wearing a wetsuit and put down his surfboard. After couple of minutes we jumped over the fence and spoke about tides and chilled on the rocks for another 20 minutes. Finally, I admitted that I kitesurf and it’s been my dream to learn how to surf. It turned out that he used to be a surf instructor. He asked me:
-do you have a wetsuit?
-yeah, 3.2mm – I responded.
-okay, take it and meet me here tomorrow at 10. I’m gonna teach you how to surf.
We were supposed to meet next to the light house which I named a “big lamp” because forgot how was it in english.
When I was coming back I was so excited I run as fast as I could, walked into my room and sad to my roommate:
-DARIA!! Guess what happened! I have a surf lesson tomorrow!
-I told you so!
-Yeah! But my instructor is bald and over 40! His name is Mike and he’s a pilot!
The rest of the day we were chilling. Suddenly we’ve heard loud music outside. We looked at each other and literally run out of the room. It was obviously Curtis with his big track. He asked us: “So, where are we going today?”. We had to go to the mall in Capitola and that’s where he took us as well.
On our second day, we drove through Santa Cruz shore, Pleasure Point and 2 nearest villages– Capitola and Aptos. Not bad for 2 days in States, don’t you think?
I’m just gonna add now, that on my last days in SC, I lost a debit card and had to go to the bank. When I was waiting to be served I saw a business card on the desk. There was a name – Julian. I have no idea how many people named Julian worked in this bank, but I’m pretty sure it was the one who I’ve met on my 1st day. The card showed me his full name – Julian Freeman. Mike’s surname was Freeman as well. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it, laughed and thanked Julian in my mind that he never showed up for our morning jogging. We were supposed to meet at 9, I actually went out at this time and met my dear friend.
The next day when I woke up I was super excited about my first surf lesson with Mike. I put on my wetsuit and convinced Daria to go with me. It rarely happens that we are not late but this time we weren’t and showed up exactly at 10 o’clock next to the “big lamp”. Mike wasn’t there yet so we were watching surfers on Steamer Lane. I promised myself that I would surf that spot one day. After a while I started to get worried that he wouldn’t come and today wasn’t the day. I didn’t know yet, that he was very similar to us.
He showed up about 10:30 calling “Hey, big lumb!” – I still have no idea what kind of word game he was using, but pretty sure he didn’t mean a big lamp as a light house… He said that right then we were just gonna go swimming to get to know the ocean. I might have mentioned him that I’ve never seen waves like this and have no idea how to deal with them. We went to the Dog’s beach, jumped into very cold and salty water. Mike showed me a few tricks how not to be taken out by wave, so I wasn’t that scared anymore.
Daria didn’t have her own wetsuit and I knew she wanted to join us so much! She’s a very good swimmer in compare with me… Luckly it turned out that Mike had another wetsuit. Suddenly he hit on this idea to show us a real secret spot. We went to his apartment to grab the wetsuit and boards and meet his beloved cat – Missy Eliot. He’s so obsessed with her… even more than Mexican Tacos!
And this is how we went to learn how to surf by stranger’s car to the unknown place through the beautiful highway 1. I didn’t even think for a second that we shouldn’t have trust him. Oh, come on, it was Mike. He was talking all drive about his definitely favorite state – California. We stopped by one kitesurf spot called “Waddel”. There was about 25 knots wind and 15 kitesurfers in water. I felt a little nostalgic, but kite wasn’t our aim for today so we continued our ride.
Finally, Mike stopped and said “It’s here”. He literally pulled over in the middle of nowhere. We grabbed all stuff and started to walk. We were walking further and further. On our way, Mike showed us a little line curved in the wooden fence. Apparently, it was pointing West – he made it years ago. He seemed to really like this place.
After a little hike, we got there. To the stunning, wide beach where there was no one except us. The name of this place is “Año nuevo” and it’s a famous State Park in California. We sat on blankets, opened our “Hell or high watermelon” beers (I miss that taste!) and started to observe the ocean.
The waves were different here. They were long and breaking far away from the shore. I had no idea about kinds of surf breaks that day, to be honest. But I definitely felt a difference between a water temperature. It was really COLD! After a little Mike’s Tutorial “how to stand up?” on the beach we went inside. I could be in the ocean with my thin wetsuit on for about 30 minutes. Mike was pushing us into waves. I surfed on my belly and even stand up for about 1 second. One or 2 times I felt when I was inside the wave. The way how invisible power was gently pushing me forward… I’ve never experienced something like this. And it was so much fun on white water as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t feel my toes anymore so I had to go out. Daria joined me after several minutes and we were chilling on the beach when Mike cough some nice waves.
Today I know they were small that day. But only advanced people surf there, when good swell comes. Still, not so many, because of the sharks. Maybe we shouldn’t have trust the stranger after all… I found this out weeks later from my good friend – a brother from another mother. But I will tell you about Jason another time.
Either way, we went with Mike to Año a few times that summer, once I even had a chance to surf Waddel. I find it quite funny that I was happy there was no wind on a kite spot (sadly, I didn’t have my kite equipment there).
I got my surf board on my 5th day in United States. Mike brought it to my room and sad that I will pay him back when I earn money. It was a foam board from Costco for 100$, which many beginners had. But my Esmeralda was special…
During all summer, we did some trips with Mike. We went to San Francisco, Red Woods, Monteray and more. Some people from work and travel met him and hanged out with us and they said that he was a cool guy. I helped him with Bumble profile (sth like Tinder lol), we surfed Cowells, Año, Waddel, even Steamer Lane once. He got me a second job in a local coffee shop where he had breakfast everyday. He also bought me the most beautiful oldshool cruiser in exchange for coming to his house sometimes to feed Missy Elliot when he was away (I mean seriously who does name his pet– Missy Eliot lol?). Before my leaving I gave him back the bike and he said, that whenever I come back it will be mine.
You have no idea how much I owe this guy. I was truly surprise by his selfless help. I’m not sure it it’s US or, California or maybe our easy-going attitude but honestly, he was one of my best friends there!
And I hope this bald motherfucker gonna find a redhead, freckled, under 40 cute surfer girl!