Key Takeaways: Surfing is gnarly, bro
Name: Ace from Date #40
Length of date: 2 hours and 30 minutes
How the date was obtained: We scheduled another one after the first
Where: El Porto Beach, in Manhattan Beach
Four weeks ago, I went on a date with Ace (the sweet veterinary technician). We met at the Berkshire House, or as I like to call it: The Hell Hole. This place had everything: people blowing weed smoke into our faces, a waitress yelling at us without a mask, our food never coming, and, I believe, all the glamour of super-spreading Long Island wedding. The only redeeming thing about the date was Ace. So, when he asked me out on a second date that didn’t involve the Berkshire House, I said, “absolutely!”
Then, he suggested we go surfing. If I were to rate myself on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 10 being Duke Kahanamoku (of Duke’s restaurant fame) and 1 being me... I’d be me. I am not a surfer. Sure, I have had a couple of lessons in tropical vacation destinations, and I did go boogie boarding a lot on the Oregon coast as a kid, but I am not a surfer by any means. But, I’ve always wanted to go surfing in California, so I said “yeah, bro! Let’s hang 10, bro. Shaka, bro. I’m stoked to catch a gnarly barrel, bro.”
When I mentioned going surfing to my mom, she sent one of our boogie boarding wetsuits. Shoutout to her! So, on the day of the date. I put on my swimsuit, packed a beach bag, and got my wetsuit ready to go. Then it hit me that I didn’t know how I was going to transport a wet, sandy wetsuit home. Luckily, I thought of a brilliant plan. I’d bring the small bucket we use for cleaning, plus a large garbage bag! I left that house feeling like Dorthey from The Wizard of Oz but instead of Toto in my basket, I had my wetsuit in my dirty bucket.
Ace and I met at El Porto Surf Shop so that I could rent a board (he already had his own). I was happy to see that wonderful smile that I had remembered from weeks ago. After getting our boards, we walked down to the beach, got our wetsuits on, and headed out for the water. Did I feel like a neoprene coated Pamela Anderson from Baywatch walking out into the surf? Yes. But, I was 100% less glamorous, although I was nice and warm, and buoyant, too. I struggled in the water and eventually Ace took his surfboard back on the sand to help me full time. He was a wonderful coach: setting me up for waves, holding onto my board, telling me to paddle hard, and everything in between.
I have to brag: I got up on my first try and then about 5 more times. I will not speak about what happened in between those 6 rides, but I will say they involved getting water up my nose.
Side note: I’ve been skiing for almost 20 years and you might hit a mogul every once in a while, but for the most part, you know what to expect. But, all bets are off in the ocean. It’s total sensory submersion: the roar of the sea, the salt in your mouth, the glint of sunshine off crashing waves—all utterly unpredictable. You never know what to expect. It’s inspiring to see experienced surfers like Ace harness the power of a wave. PS - I've seen pictures of surfing dogs. I honestly don't know how that works.
Back to my version of surfing - At one point while I was laying on my board and waiting for the right wave, Ace said, “brace” as a large wave rolled over me. Then, my body did a move that should be called a “scorpion.” My legs flew up as I arched my back and my feet almost hit my head. There is no way I looked cute when that happened. And I think I can expect the effects of the “scorpion” to be felt on my back for at least a couple of days.
Scorpions aside, I had a wonderful time with Ace. I got to see a very kind, helpful, and easy-going side of him, which I really liked; he was so patient! Yet, I think that I see him more as a friend not because of anything he said or did, but just that intangible element of chemistry. Also, I’m not just saying, “I’d love to be friends,” I mean it! We’re both from Oregon and know some of the same fun people, so I’m hoping we’ll get together again. In the meantime, I promise to work on my surfing so we can really catch those waves together. Or, I might just revert to the oceanside activity of my childhood and grab a boogie board and hit the beach. Either way, surf’s up!
The future for us… Hopefully more surfing (or boogie boarding).
Next Week: A picnic with a comedy enthusiast from Bumble.