Corky' Blog: That first, priceless ride (in deep dark 50s)
That first, priceless ride
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 December, 2011 : - - I have written in the past about getting my very first surfboard for Christmas back in the deep dark 50's when they were made out of wood. But today I would like to elaborate on that experience a bit more and why that day changed my life forever.
Before I had my own board I was sort of notorious for sneaking out the boards that belonged to the older dudes on our beach and putting dings in them. In those days the dudes who surfed would pretty much just leave their boards laying around on the beach when they were surfing or maybe stashed next to their houses in plain sight. It was a fairly easy deal for a stoked little surf kid to sneak one of them out into the water and go for a surf.
The bad part was that in those years there was little or no beach at Surfside, where I grew up. The homes on the ocean side of the street were on pilings and at high tide the surf went right under the houses. Seeing as how this was decades before we had surf leashes it was very easy for a beginner, such as myself, to fall off the board and have it hit a house. The result was normally a very nasty ding in some poor dudes board. And naturally I would sneak it back and never let on that I had anything to do with it.
But they knew. And one day all the older surf dudes came over and told my dad that either he buy me my own board or they were going to drown me. A dilemma that my dad said he had to consider very carefully, being as how there were pros and cons to either way it came out.
I had been begging for a surfboard for a long time. My old canvas surf matt had run its course in my surfing development and I needed real fire power. So I was really hoping for SantaDad to come through and give me a board that year.
On Christmas morning I woke up at dawn and sprinted down the stairs to check out what was gonna be under the tree. YESSSSSSSSS... there it was. A beautiful new 8'7" balsawood pintail that had been custom made for me by Dick Barrymore. I was stoked.
It was a freezing morning with an ice cold offshore wind blowing. The surf was small, thankfully. I jumped into my swimming trunks and waxed up my new stick using a bar of my moms paraffin wax that was used to seal jam and jelly jars. That was the only wax back then. I was ready to charge it. A small issue I had was that my new board weighed 3 pounds MORE than I did. I had to life the tail and put it in the front, and then the nose and more it to the front, so on and so forth until I walked the board the hundred feet or so from our front door to the waters edge.
I should point at that I had no wetsuit and was shaking like a baby pig on the way to the bacon factory from the cold. But cold or no cold, I was so happy to be actually going surfing on my very own board that it didn't slow me down one beat.
I managed to paddle out easily, the waves were only about two or three feet and I didn't have to push through any on the way out. Then it happened, I took off on my first wave on my new board. It was a small little left and somehow I got to my feet and angled down the face. The moment that the board came into trim on the face of the wave and I could feel the speed and acceleration something clicked in my little brain and, even though I didn't realize it yet, there was no turning back. I was hooked forever.
So, it was sort of a combination of things that came together and set the course for the rest of my life that day. The first was that my dad bought me my board and the older guys didn't drown me. That was a definite different outcome. The second was that first wave was a success and the thrill of it took me over. It could have gone wrong and maybe I wouldn't have taken to it so totally. But it didn't and I did.
And here I sit on another Christmas Eve close to sixty years later and I am still just as stoked to paddle out and ride a wave as I was that first morning. I am glad my life went the way it did and sure am glad my dad made the right choice.
Have a Cool Yule everybody.
Source: Corky's Blog
Author: Corky Carrol
Tags: Sirfing, Surfboard, Christmas, Surfside
Corky's Blog - Surfersvillage