I'm alive! Burnt, sore, bruised... but alive! There were quite a few mix-ups before we actually got to the beach and because of them, it worked out better than if we had actually planned it. :) Proof that going with the flow sometimes pays off.
We all packed lunch before heading out. I had a turkey sandwich on homemade sourdough (yum!) with half a slice of provolone, mustard (my hummus was bad boo!) cilantro and field greens. I think everyone else ended up with pb& j. Smart people! easy is best :) I took some carrots and blueberries too.
After finding the right beach, we had to find the surf/paddle board van to get our rentals. I thought this was the hard part until I got out into the water on the board.
We finally found them, got four boards for 7 people and decided the guys would go first. We were so glad they did because we enjoyed watching them struggle until we realized... if three buff guys were struggling, we were probably going to die.
It was a beautiful day in Santa Monica but just as the guys came back to shore, the wind started picking up. Wind = cold and white caps. Not the best conditions for a paddle boarder, much less 4 who have never tried it before. At this point we found out that the "Surf School" we rented from wasn't even giving lessons because of the wind. Yikes!
But, we toughed it out, stretched on spring suits and gave each other pep talks while we watched seemingly massive waves crash 200 yards off shore. Oh yeah... and it took me three tries to get the stupid wet suit on right. Yes, I have blonde moments even though I'm not THAT blonde.
We all look pretty cheerful considering we all thought we were going to drown out there.
After a few quick tips from the guys about staying on, getting through crashing waves and not killing each other or ourselves, they helped us out into the water. We were very grateful for the help. We all got out and two of us quickly got washed/tumbled back to shore. I stayed out for a few minutes my first try before I got in the middle of a crashing wave and lost it all. Water can be so terrifying when you are totally under it's control. I caught my breath back at shore and tried again. This time I stayed out for I would guess 10-15 minutes but it was probably more like 3. :) By this time however, the wind was even stronger and the waves were bigger. It was a vicious cycle of exhaustion from paddling and fighting big waves that were steadily pushing you toward shore where you then had to fight the waves as they crashed which caused more exhaustion. Finally me and two of the girls ended up back at shore grateful to still be alive while our brave friend Christianne stayed out by herself for over an hour. She was rewarded for her bravery and perseverance though. She got to share some waves with playful dolphins.
We all decided we definitely wanted to try again another day but only after watching the wind and surf advisories. Or... try paddleboarding in a harbor or pond. :)
We packed up our stuff and trudged back to the car with sore muscles, windswept hair and many welts. California Pizza Kitchen was our yummy yummy dinner. We couldn't tell if the food was really as good as it seemed, or we were just so hungry that we could have eaten dog food and thought it was equal to the finest Italy could offer. I'm guessing it was a combination of the two conditions.
Now, I'm paying the price of my lackadaisical application of sunscreen with pins and needles all over my back and my legs. Thank goodness for ibuprofen and aloe vera.
Despite the welts, the bruises, the sunburn, and my life flashing before my eyes, it was such a great day! It's always fun trying something new.