Gonna Learn to Surf

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I’ve been not feeling that great the last week. I’m not sure if I got some funk flying back from California or what. Plus, I have a tooth ache that seems to be not getting better even though I went to the dentist a couple days ago.

I’m not really worrying too much about it like I normally would. It is still nearly 2 months before I want to be riding well, so I don’t mind being “down” now. The only problem is that I’m supposedly doing 5 cyclo-x races in the next 9 days and as we all know, it’s pretty hard to fake it in cyclo-x. And it’s pretty hard to get better technically in the sport when you’re redlined the whole race.

Training has been a chore the last week. I’ve been going through the motions, but not really training, just riding. Mainly on gravel, which breaks up the monotony.

I went down to Lawrence yesterday to meet up with my Tradewind Energy team guys and have dinner. That was fun, but I have a super headache today and only had two beers. I am such a lightweight. I must be allergic to something in it because I never feel good after drinking beer.

It was nearly 70 degrees here in Topeka yesterday and now the high today is going to be in the mid 40’s. It’s gonna seem cold. In Tulsa, over the weekend, it’s supposed to be in the upper 70’s. It is weird how that seems hot racing cross when just a few weeks ago it was nearly cool riding road bikes. The body is strange in that re-guard.

Anyway, I decided that I’m going to learn how to surf after all this cyclo-x silliness is over. I watched a couple surfing movies and decided it was about time I actually did it. I’ve spent lots of time in the ocean and have had tons of opportunities to surf, I just never did. I body surf nearly everytime I go to the ocean. I’ve always enjoyed it more and thought it was more physical and a better workout that actually surfing. Plus, all you need is a swimsuit. It is the same as I like to snorkel more than scuba dive, even though I’m licensed to dive. It seems more streamlined, less encumbered. Or cross county ski instead of downhill.

But, all that above aside, I’m going to learn how to surf. I’m not sure where. I’ll probably start somewhere in Southern California. Maybe not. Maybe Costa Rica. I have this friend, Greg Miller, that I used to race with who now owns a hotel on the beach in Costa Rica. Greg used to own a bike shop in Seal Beach, CA called Sand Piper and he finally came to the conclusion that it is nicer living in Costa Rica on the beach than in Seal Beach fixin’ bikes, so he pulled up roots and moved. He’s been trying to get me to come down to Costa Rica for a long time. His place in Costa Rica is also called Sand Piper and he is always posting photos of great breaks right from his place. And the water is warm there.

I don’t know anything about it really. I do know I’d like to have a new athletic challenge and relax some at the same time and surfing seems to fit both. I have no idea how long it will take to get proficient enough at it to be satisfied. Probably longer than I’ll be alive.

I saw this photo somewhere a couple months ago and it is what got me thinking about wanting to surf. I know I'll most likely never be able to experience something like this, but I can always hope.

14 thoughts on “Gonna Learn to Surf

  1. AP

    “Once the sand gets in between your toes, you can never leave the beach”
    -Step Into Liquid
    Probably one of the best quotes from that whole movie.

  2. Mark Studnicki

    Surfing is either much harder than it looks or just extremely easy for some. I was in Hawaii for a World Cup (long time ago) and spent an entire afternoon surfing in Wakiki with Andy Tout. He was obviously a much more accomplished cyclist than myself, but neither of us had ever seen surf boards in our lives. He was up the very first time and EVERY time thereafter. I almost got up ONCE and spent 4 hrs getting washed up on shore with seaweed wrapped around me.

  3. Tristan

    Try a few drops of clove oil for your tooth. Even dentists and oral surgeons use it for dry socket (the most painful condition when you lose a blot clot and expose the nerve after a tooth has been pulled). Clove oil is a natural anesthetic. Try chewing on a clove and see what happens – numb tongue. Hope y0u feel better. Coming to Jingle Cross?

  4. Ken

    Although you have probably already seen it, “Riding Giants” is one of the greatest surfing documentaries of all time. My daughter prefers “Soul Surfer”, but then she’s only 6.

  5. rab

    Learning to surf may be either the best or worst decision you could make.

    If it gets in your blood it can be really hard to want to do anything else. Of course living a distance from the ocean would be a good way to help moderate that.

    Definitely something to experience at least once.
    By the way, that wave is Teahupoo…google/youtube some video of it…insanely heavy wave at times.

  6. channel_zero


    You’ll probably like surfing for the same reason you like ‘reading a race.’ Lots of reading going on when you are trying to drop into the curl. At least for an infrequent surfer.

    Word of warning though, the equipment can eat up a good chunk of money. One board for each kind of surf condition plus a few fun ones. And then there’s the travel!!!!

  7. John

    Steve…one of the reasons I’ve lost all my cycling fitness is because of “kitesurfing”. I’m at Clinton Lake any time the wind is good and I’m not working. Unfortunately, the best wind in Kansas is right in the middle of ‘cross season. Been surfing my whole life, and now that I’m land-locked I get my fix this way. BTW…surfing is easy….get a longboard and you’ll love it. Costa Rica is a great place to surf and kitesurf. Yell at me if you are mtb on the Clinton trails…always near the marina.

  8. John

    Almost forgot…grew up in Encinitas. You can get a used longboard at Hansen’s for $500 next time you’re in SD and use it for years. The cost of cycling gear will make surfing look like a bargain.

  9. jza

    I learned this summer that surfing and cycling have zero overlap. To catch a wave, you’ve got to paddle HARD, and my little bike rider pencil arms gave me nothing. My instructor thought it was hilarious.

    I could paddle all damn day, but I couldn’t go anywhere.

    If the water’s warm, great way to spend a couple of days.

  10. wreck lyons

    if you look close you can see toe straps whether you paddle in or get pulled in makes no difference to me because that wave would eat most normal men

  11. mark huffman

    Steve: I grew up surfing (and then switched to cycling because it is really a young person sport). I strongly suggest you take up your apprentenship with your friend in Costa. The main reason is that the water is warm there. There is nothing worse than trying to get the hang of surfing while encased in a tube of neopreme…

  12. Brad Carvey

    I learned to surf in Santa Cruz. I made the mistake of letting a great surfer to teach me. He had me buy a board designed for Steamer Lane (Big Waves 20+ feet) and the first time out, we paddled about a mile to get to some outside breaks at 66th street. Got a fin through my upper lip getting out on 10 ft waves.

    By the time I finally got on a long board, it felt like walking on a sidewalk. Go with the long board to learn. Everything is hard at first. Even sitting on your board is hard. But, I doubt it would take more then an hour for you to catch a wave and stand up, if you have someone decent to teach you. I have been in New Mexico for 25 years and I still have one board.


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