I’m catching up on my blogging today so you get two entries for the price of one! We are on vacation in Carlsbad, CA. – cute village, wine tasting, spas, cafes, nice restaurants, pretty beach, and yes, surfing. We are at the Carlsbad Inn, which is pretty nice, just across a small street to the special stairs to the beach, complete with free chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, and sand toys for the asking. Because the water is not really warm yet, we rented the boys surf wetsuits yesterday and also rented a foam longboard for them to try out.
This brings me to the surf thing. My oldest tried it out a couple summers ago with friends and was told he was pretty good at catching on. Since then, he has wanted a board. The skim board I bought him before he went away to school (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – yes, a surfer campus) was no substitute, although he has gotten quite good at sliding on the water film made by the retreating waves, and can do spins and jumps. I am pretty sure one of the reasons he chose this campus (besides the highly-ranked aerospace engineering program and the bowling alley in the student union) was the fact that they offer a “for fun” class in shaping your own surf board.
I was not surprised when he told me he was taking the class the first month he was on campus. I WAS surprised later on when he informed me that it would cost $225 to pick up the board from the guy who was doing the fiberglass coating on it, and that he’d be late getting back to his room to meet me when I picked him up for Christmas break “’cuz I just gotta get my board!”. When I asked where he got this $225, it became clear he would be a little short on the rent money January 1st.
First surf culture observation #1: Surf stuff is really cool and worth spending your rent money on, as long as you believe you still have enough parental credits to get it covered in time.
The surf board glass guy only reinforced my son’s view of how cool this board was when Kyle called him to arrange for the pickup. He said: “DUDE! You’re sooo stoked! This board is great, man!” ( Surf Observation #2: Doing fiberglass for a living might be fun and even lucrative, but it really does a number on your brain cells.)
Now Kyle thinks he can not only surf (“You’re picking this up really fast!”, but that he can make boards, too. It doesn’t help that I flash back to when we moved to southern California with our then 9-month blonde son and our friends prophetically said, “I can see it now – you’re going to have a surfer on your hands.”
Surf culture observation #3: Anyone’s surf stuff makes all other surfers or wanna-be-surfers really excited. Case in point: Kyle “got to” store his friends long board (read over 9 feet long) in my garage for about a year – never used it – whole other story– but he thought it was so cool to look at and think about using.)
Now back to this week in Carlsbad. I have now lugged the hand-made surf board all the way from SLO to Santa Clarita and now here, we have rented the wet suit, and as it turns out, he cannot try the board out because it has developed a crack. We have looked up repair shops in the phone book, and thankfully thought to ask the nice surfer-dude man at the rental shop if he knows where to get repairs done. Surf Culture observation #4: surfers are easy going and nice, and many are attractive in a sun-worn, muscular way. Sorry to digress – the good news is he tells Kyle that he can use Solarez (a tube of special epoxy-like gunk), to repair the crack himself, and that it cures in the sun is about 1/2 hour. “Great!”, I think, “this will save some of next month’s rent money.” So a good part of yesterday was spent with Kyle repairing the board, AND re-finishing the skim board with spray on polycrylic we had to stop at a hardware store for. Our condo deck looks like a repair shop (yes, my husband brought sand paper and steel wool along – don’t ask!), and the living room smells like what I imagine glue sniffers (or surf board fiberglass guys) are attracted to.
Surf Culture observation #5: working on your boards is almost as attractive as using them.
While at the surf shop, we also had to purchase a “leash” for said new surf board, and some wax. Cold water, and also base coat, since it has not been waxed before. There were lots of fun things in there – cute and provocative clothing, board covers, and many other accessories and toys. Surf Culture observation #6: There are lots of sexual undertones in this sport – and actually, some are pretty overt. We could choose between Sex Wax or Sticky Bumps. Kyle wanted Sticky Bumps. He got an “XM High Performance Leash” We could order a cover for his board called the “Thruster Cover”. The wax packet said “How to wax your stick”. Kyle told us one of his teachers says: “If it swells, ride it!” You get the idea. Slight uncomfortable feelings looking at all of this with my two sons, but sorta fun when I focus on my hubby.
After all of this, the boys ended up skim and boogie boarding with the wet suits – “The waves are no good for surfing.”, and the new board has still not made it into the ocean. I do have to admit that it looks great, and it’s kind of neat to think of my muscular blonde son riding it, just like our friend foretold all those years ago. Maybe I’ll get to see it on this vacation, or perhaps a future one. Maybe there will actually be an application for it when he gets to fluid mechanics or aerodynamics in his aero program (a mom can hope!). Maybe he’ll just develop another great physical hobby that makes him feel good and lets off steam. Surf culture observation #7 (really a Mom observation) : There are many less desirable things a kid could get into, I do think it’s cool, and mostly, I wish I could do it, too.
Have a good one, dude!