Trestles. The place where everyone checks you out, even the seagulls and crows, to see if you have something they can use. Photographers scatter across the cobblestone covered coastline where surfers try to prove themselves. Taking off on a wave feels like standing on a stage. Everyone out in the water is watching you to see if you are going to fall so they can go and the people on the beach are trying to decide if you are a better surfer than they are. I can’t say I’m not guilty of doing both, but this fact didn’t make me feel any less nervous as I sat in the hot seat out in the Trestles lineup. I had just paddled out; Scott and a few of our friends sat on the beach taking pictures and drying off after their session. I positioned myself in the middle of a pack of guys who probably only took notice of me to write me off.
To be honest, I never think much about being the only, or one of the only, girls out surfing. It’s something I lost sight of a while back when I was learning to surf in places like Trestles. You see, I grew up a stone’s throw from this spot and found my water ways soaking at sea among men and boys who would only notice you if your top turn sprayed them in the face. It wasn’t until I got sponsor stickers on my board that I finally felt I didn’t have to prove myself as a worthy surfer every time I paddled out. But none of that mattered here. These waters, like the ones I learned to surf in, seemed to be filled with dares and challenges.
Why am I telling you this? So you will think I’m cool for entering a male dominated arena? No. That’s not what this blog is for. This is a place I use to store honest stories, like a journal or diary, with the hope that some day they will at least mean something to me. And the truth in this story is, out of the water I am half the hustler I am in the water. Maybe that is one of the reasons I find the sea so comforting. I feel like I have grit out there.
So there I was, surrounded by a bunch of wave-hungry dudes, when the perfect wave came to me. We all scrambled for it, but I had the position closest to the peak and there was no way I was backing down. I turned and began to paddle for the wave, but at least three other guys did too. “I got it!” I called, as I dropped into this near perfect Trestles right. I could feel what felt like 100 eyes on me, but my experiences from learning to surf in waters just like these paid off and I let my nerves wash away with each turn.
That wave made me feel not just alive, but able.
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