17
Jul
13

And So A Little Surfer Dude Was Born

When we left California, I pretty much wrote of an experience I had been looking forward to since my first son was born: teaching him to surf.

Yes, you can surf on the east coast and yes, I could still teach them but I was already struggling to find time to go surfing. Add in a two hour or so drive and I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting to the beach for it on a regular basis.

And when it comes to kids, very few want to get up at 5am to make this happen. They’ll happily go to the beach, but try to pry them out of bed that early and they look like this:

 

And when they get to the beach, more often then not they just want to do their own thing. Which is fine.

Flashforward four years or so to this week when we’re down on the Jersey Shore at this awesome beach house. The kids saw a lot of other kids boogie boarding and wanted their own boards. Luckily for our wallet, the house we rented had boards already.

So this afternoon myself, Alpha Tween and Omega Child now also known as The Professor, headed to the beach with the boards in addition to our usual gear.

Alpha, as is his wont, dove right in and headed out with his board. He tried hard but had a difficult time getting going and even when I gave him a push he missed more waves than he caught.

Omega is another story entirely. He’s not the most confident swimmer. At some point in New York, after doing well in swim lessons back in LA, he was placed in a swim group which used water wings. Ever since then he hasn’t had any confidence no matter how much swimming we do.

This is even more of an issue in the ocean. I have always tried to stress to the boys that while the ocean is wonderful and a lot of fun, it’s also dangerous. You have to be careful about turning your back on it and you have to pay attention.

That cautious reminder has backfired with The Professor as he is now somewhat afraid of the water. He’s afraid of the fish he can’t see, the crabs he can’t see and the waves.

Suffice to say I won’t be showing him Jaws anytime soon.

Flying sharks…..awesome

 

Yesterday we discovered that the beach we are at has a sandbar about thirty feet or so from the shore. So you can walk, then swim and then stand waist deep. Professor Omega wouldn’t come out at first, then only on my back. He was happy to learn he could stand but said he was definitely going to forget about it and not return to the sandbar again.

My son is a big fan of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Today he allowed himself to come out in the water with his boogie board (leash firmly attached to his wrist), but not too deep and ONLY if I held onto the board.

We got out to where I was a little deeper than waist deep and I helped him lay on his board (he’s a small guy) and taught him to properly balance himself. Slowly but surely, I held onto the board less and less firmly. Finally he didn’t even notice when I wasn’t holding on.

Then, when he said he was ready, we picked out a wave and when it closed on us I shoved him towards the shore.

It wasn’t a good ride nor a long one. Yet when he turned towards me afterwards his eyes lit up. He was so proud.

Soon, he was running back into the water and jumping over waves with his board. Soon he was kicking himself to catch a wave on his own (mostly – I still gave him a shove most of the time) and pushing himself further and further from shore.

We took a break and almost as soon as he was out of the water he was arguing he had to get back in, shivering lips and all.

When we got back in, I began to tow him out to the sandbar.

Omega: Dad. Dad! DAD!

Me: What?

Omega: I really don’t need you to tow me dad. I can do this myself. I don’t need your help with this.

Well, well, well.

Little Surfer Boy

Little Surfer Boy

And he didn’t (mostly). He even got to the point he could paddle with one or both arms as well as kick with his legs. He caught some waves all on his own.

He even jumped back in to board with me when I grabbed Alpha Tween’s board. He didn’t last long (another first – ab/stomach pain from so much swimming and paddling) but it was great.

We were already planning on bringing my board down here next year (we’re hoping to come back) and now, without a doubt, I know the Professor will be there with me.

The friend who taught me to surf said that for a lot of people, once you get the surfing bug it’s really hard to shake it. It looks like at least one of the kids (eventually both once I get done with the Tween) might have been bit.

Whether that’s the case or not long term, I’m so thankful that I had a chance to fulfill a goal I had given up on seeing happen.

A little surfer dude has been born.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

 

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