In The Beginning…

No…Do not worry my friends as this is no forthcoming or warning of anything religious or diety oriented. It is simply the story of the beginning of my transcendent journey into the amazing, soulful and inexplicable world of surfing.
Before we begin our story, let me introduce myself. My name is Sandy Beach. I am a 43 year old, blue eyed, tow-headed,bronzed, seasoned veteran of surfing who lives along the coast in the beautiful Sunshine State that is Florida. I am the owner and operator of the first and only commercial surf school in the city of Cape Canaveral, Sandy Beach Surfing, LLC www.sandybeachsurfing.com
I have been in operation for over 10 years now and have gone from simply teaching surfing techniques to coaching teams, training competitive surfers of all ages, running science based surf camps and being the chairperson of our local Cocoa Beach Chapter of Surfrider Foundation.

But it wasn’t always this way! Flashback to 29 years ago from now…the year1987!
Ronald Reagan is president, Bart Simpson just entered our lives and is in 6th grade, gas is only $.89/ gallon, Michael Jackson(RIP) is BAD! Fashion is…well…we won’t go there! Average monthly rent is less than $400 a month…HOLY S$@#!!!! Bon Jovi was Heavy Metal and #1. MTV still played just music videos including “You Give Love A Bad Name”, by Bon Jovi. (sue me, I was a fan). Some of the best movies ever came out that year too. “Predator”, “Lethal Weapon”, “Dirty Dancing” (come on …we all love it…don’t deny it), “The Lost Boys” (best vampire movie ever…better than…gulp…Twilight series) and of course the most iconic surf culture movie of all time that to this day is STILL to this day required by all surfers to watch…and memorize (mostly)…”North Shore”, introducing characters that will be iconic in our culture forever. Rick Kane, Chandler, “Turtle”, Vince Mololoka and Lance Burkardt. Go anywhere in the world and you can still hear surfers from all walks of life quoting this timeless, funny, iconic, often over the top stereotypical and mostly goofy surf flick of the 80’s! “Yeah…Noh”! And to this day…”Nobody listens to Turtle”. It’s a classic that can’t be missed, a must see…but not to be confused with the true must see movies of surfers, Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer” Series and his son Dana Brown’s “Step into Liquid” Otherwise known as the surfing bibles. You can read about these and other classic must sees in my future blog, “The Surfing Bible…From the Old Testament to the Final Testament?…And lots of things in between”.(Surf Flix that MUST be Seen)
OK…back to the story!

1987. Spring Break, 1987! A skinny, pale, pubescent, cocky, adventurous, semi rebellious 14 year old travels from a small, mid state, mountain side based town in the Hudson River Valley area of New York, about 1 hour from NYC and over 2 hrs from the nearest ocean, which at this point of time was unsurfable due to the constant beach closings due to garbage, sewage and medical waste floating in the frigid sea….Anyways, he travels with his family of four by car for two days, stopping overnight in Cary, North Carolina at his parents friends’ house where he can finally change into shorts and short sleeves, a nice 75 degrees, when he left it was only 35. After over 23 hours in the crammed car with his two parents and one nagging, older sister he arrives in Eustis, Florida, basically located smack dab in the middle of the state in a place called Lake County, a place where he was also born back in 1973(another great year).
Eustis, Fl…not exactly a surfing mecca. But it was here, 29 years ago that my journey had begun! If there’s one person I give all credit to for introducing me to this strange, anti societal, rebellious, outlandish and amazing culture that I would one day call my own and wear with pride, the “Sport of Kings”…it was Doug Paul. Doug was the youngest son of three siblings. Our parents had been friends before either of us were born and remain so to this day. Doug was not quite a full year older than me, but he could drive! In NY, you had to be 16 to get a learners permit, 17 for a Junior license and 18 for a full one….in Florida you could drive at 15. Which made Doug even cooler.
So, on the first evening of my arrival I was told by Doug, not asked by my often “partner in crime” that I was “going surfing tomorrow, early, all day in Daytona Beach” and that “I was going to have the Best time of my life” and that “he would teach me“. He also said “by the way…you need to get out past the inside waves to catch the real ones”. I asked him “HOW do I do that”? In reply he smiled and showed me how to wax my board. That was nice of him. But I still wanted to know. I asked several more times…”HOW”! He shrugged it off and told me not to worry about it for now…he would show me tomorrow. “Get some sleep, we leave at 5 AM”, that was at 1 AM. “4 hours” I thought to myself. That’s insane, there’s no way it’s gonna happen. Well it did. Before I knew it we were packed up with boards, wet suits and some food and drinks and on our way in his Dad’s car to Daytona Beach, a mere hour away.

They immediately met up with some of his surfer buds, all looking the same…buff, blonde and bronzed. But not me, I was pale, thinner and my hair was a very dark dirty blonde. I stood out like Rudolph’s bright red nose. We found a place to park on the beach, because that is what you do in Daytona Beach, you drive your car and park on it. That’s when the realization of everything hit me all at once. Surfers everywhere. Surfboards everywhere and girls…everywhere, even a few with boards too. Female surfers were present in the 80’s but it was not as prevalent as it now is. Any break now has an almost equal ratio of male to female surfers.

So I open my door and step

out onto the white, powdery sandy beach and stare out before me, entranced, unable to look away at what lies before me, the Atlantic ocean. And the waves…Wowzers, those waves were enormous,ginormous even, huge towering walls of water with even bigger ones further out. Powerful, blue and on this particular day…even more “sharky” than normal. Later on it would be dubbed “the sharkiest day ever” in an area unbeknownst to me at the time was considered and still is considered to be, “the shark attack capital of the world”. It was here in this “Jaws” like setting that my first day of surfing began…little did I know that this first step was only…The Beginning!

…Continue the adventure with “Step One…Day One…and so forth” (coming soon)

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