1. Move to the beach. Any beach will do, but I’d suggest somewhere warm enough that wetsuits aren’t needed. Many people are comfortable suctioning themselves into a piece of insulated rubber, but that is a hurdle that I personally haven’t been quite able to jump.
2. Live with surfers. Their wide-eyed enthusiasm for the sick waves will be enough to inspire to lug your friend’s boyfriend’s 8-foot board down to the beach, the end of the board bouncing out of your open trunk the entire way.
3. Bring the surfboard to the beach (as discussed above). Be totally pumped the whole way. If the driver is currently on an Elvis kick, decide that many of the songs of the greatest hits album are problematic. Download Wooden Heart.
4. Snag the last parking space in the free parking, ignore the glares from the girls in the white Range Rover.
5. Lean your board against the car and borrow your friend’s board wax to rub on it. Wonder if you’re supposed to do the very front. Feel uncomfortable to ask so just don’t wax that part.
6. Hoist the board up for the trek down the path to the beach. Notice that it seems to have grown on the ride down. Rather than a reasonable 8 feet, it now is the size of a medium sized grain silo.
7. Arrive at the beach. Fingers may be already sore from stretching around the now gigantic board, which is a little too long to comfortably stretch an arm around.
8. Have an internal debate over which ankle should be strapped. Side eye your friends and notice that it looks like it goes on the rear ankle. Strap it, promptly trip over the cord.
9. Feel a resurgence of confidence. This will be great. You are only a few practice waves away from surfing like the 10-year-old boy you see currently getting barreled.
10. Be filled with spit and vinegar. Run into the water.
11. Be knocked right back out of the water by a particularly rude wave crashing against your board, which you had been holding up.
12. Run into the water again, this time putting the board into the water when it’s about knee deep and moving past the shore break as quickly as possible.
13. Your friend waves at you to get on the board. Flop your stomach onto the board, it tips and you promptly flail off the side into the water. Flop back on, make sure your toes are just dangling off the end as per the instructions you got from your friends last night when you were comfortably on your front porch swing.
14. Start paddling. Go nowhere.
15. Continue paddling, notice some slight forward motion. Also notice that the waves are breaking 30 feet ahead of you and that there is now a large amount of white water rushing at you. No one has mentioned this. Roll off the board and under the wave. Feel the board (which is now the size of a teenage whale) yank at your ankle when it’s caught by the whitewater.
16. Pop back up, reel in your surfboard which is now upside down and backwards. Point it forward, roll back on, and paddle as fast as you can. Repeat the process at least 2 more times.
17. You now are past the waves rolling over you. You now have a choice. You may:
a. Lay on your board with the waves rolling over you, get some sun, and watch the 10-year-old catch wave after wave
b. Sit up on your board, wait for a wave, and try to do this thing.
18. If you do decide to continue with the actual surfing of surfing, you will paddle frantically to catch wave after wave, all of which will pass you by. You then will move far enough forward to be caught by the whitewater.
19. Attempt to pop up, using the same advice from last night. Position your hands by your armpits and attempt to pop up in a smooth motion, putting your front foot near where your chin had been.
20. You are putting too much weight towards the front of the board. The front goes under, you go under with it, and are sent tumbling by the wave. You don’t know which way is up and so do not try to swim. You hold your breath, attempt to stay relaxed, and pray that your flying surfboard doesn’t take out the 10-year-old.
21. You finally surface, hair covering your face and slightly buzzed from the adrenaline.
22. You do this over. And over. And over. And finally, you catch a wave. Just one wave, but the high of that one wave will be enough to keep going through the misery and the nervousness of the rest of it which is, quite frankly, work. Maybe after a while you pop up and stay up. And after hours and hours of this, after the swallowed saltwater and the near drownings and surfboard bouncing out the back of your car trunk on the way to the beach, you are 1/100th as good as the 10 year old who now has turned 13 and is sponsored by Quicksilver.