On the calendar this week, in addition to the usual sea kayak tours and classes, we've got surf kayaking levels 1 & 2 on Saturday and Sunday.
Surf kayaking packs a high adrenaline punch into those days when you want to make the most out of limited time. Just park, unload, walk down the beach and you're at your destination - the waves. Last summer, I decided to take the plunge to the frontside for Surf Kayaking Level 1. It reminds me of a haiku I had to read in school:
Surf kayak lesson
After week in cubicle
Let go on shred sled
Here's how my class went:
We met at the south end of Tybee beach and staked out a spot on the sand. Our class figured out pretty quickly over introductions that we ranged in ability from seasoned tour guide to flat water rolling junkie to total paddling novice - no matter because we were all surf kayak newbies. The agenda was set out for the class - be safe, learn how to catch a wave, and enjoy the ride!
After selecting helmets, strapping on our pfds, and adjusting the thigh straps of our sit on top shredders, we plunged into the waves for some drills. Diving - what you do if you're standing in the water and a kayak is speeding towards you. Handstands - good for holding your breath under water. Capsizing and releasing from the thigh straps - a.k.a. the sit on top wet exit. Holding on to the boat in the waves - very important so you're not the guy whose kayak levels the kid bobbing in the water by the shore. Getting back on the kayak after falling off - pretty key as we will all fall off a lot on our first waves.
We took a break on the beach for a lesson on basic strokes, waves, and surf lingo like "soup," "outside," "riding the daybed," or "surfing the attic door." Soon after we grabbed paddles and boats and headed back out. The short paddle shafts and fat blades felt different, but gave us more oomph to paddle over the breaking waves to the outside. We made it, and the shredding began! Lots of adrenaline, lots of cheering, and lots of perfect waves just missed. After a good ride or a near miss, we all agreed - we wanted to paddle back out to try again.