Growing up in the suburbs, I was an avid reader of Surfer magazine. You know, for the articles. Looking back now, I can honestly say that the images printed on its glossy pages actually kindled a different type of desire however. The saturated photos of glassy tubes and empty sets made me want to trade my basketball hoop for a six-foot length of fiberglass-encased foam. But among the many realities clouding my pre-teen fantasy was the fact that I'd need my mom to shuttle me to and from the beach—a two hour drive each way.
Twenty years later, still convinced that nothing could match the sheer exhilaration of a painful wipeout in icy surf, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Mom wouldn't even have to know. Naturally I spent some time carefully researching the best place to learn the Polynesian art of he'e nalu. Unable to afford an expensive journey to one of the legendary spots scattered around the globe, I settled on the next best thing: Penzance. Figuring the North Atlantic couldn't be that cold in mid-September, I then scheduled a lesson with Global Boarders in Cornwall.
Transitions Abroad recently published my account of the experience. Hopefully I succeeded in channeling a bit of the enthusiasm I used to have for the sport. For the record, I enjoyed every minute of it, even the water temperature.