Have you ever wanted to learn how to surf but just never had the nerve to try? If you have ever seen a movie like Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer”, you might be a little intimidated at the thought. I was. All my friends knew how but I was too embarassed to try in front of them. There are a miriad of reasons why you think you wouldn’t, shouldn’t, or couldn’t give it a try, but in the end, you still wonder….what would it be like to feel yourself glide over the water like that? Could I do it? Who could teach me?

Superheroes on beach bikes/ Photo: Robyn Schneider
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Superheroes on beach bikes/ Photo: Robyn Schneider

Fortunately, I was invited to the Long Beach Peninsula where Skookum Surf Co. has the answer. Having already had a first lesson, my friend pushed past my fears. “You can do it! They will teach you! It’s so fun! ” And I can now attest that they are masters at their craft… getting the scaredy cat out on to the surfboard for the first time!

Owners Julez and Leila offer beginner to intermediate lessons and will hand craft your personal lesson to answer that longing to try. In the warmer, more comfortable waters just off the mouth of the Columbia River, where the water has heated inland, the waves are just the right size for learning…big enough to move you along but not big enough to feel like you’re out of control or unsafe. Julez and his instructors are right there with you coaching, analyzing, encouraging and correcting to help you progress in your skills and prevent you from aquiring bad habits. As with most sports, it is best to have lessons to build a strong skill base and surfing is no different.

Upon arrival at Skookum Surf Co., we were greeted by enthusiastic instructors. As they took care to fit each of our group for comfort, paying close attention to detail, my insecurities began to lessen. Their knowledge and experience was evident. My anxiety about learning to surf, which had been brewing for 30 years, was their concern as I drilled them with questions both valid and ridiculous. They say patience is a virtue, and on this day, their patience paid off in spades for me! Half the battle of trying something new is having those fears that have kept you unsuccessful resolved with solid answers. I got that!

Like superheroes ,we pedaled along in our black wetsuits on beach cruisers through local neighborhoods to our lesson. Boards awaited their prospective riders, individually chosen according to height and weight for optimal performance and success. Julez and his band of instructors began the task of educating their devotees on water safety and the basics of proper positioning on the board. I was a great surfer on the sand! Feet positioned right, over my center of gravity and UP!

Transferring our knowledge to the water was a little more challenging and success varied person to person but ALL had fun! The surf is constant there so opportunities to try again and again produced some that could stand all the way up and actually SURF! Others were content to stay on their knees, delighting in the glide over the bubbling foam. A passerby might have mistaken the laughter and squeals of our group for children lost in play, a testament to the staff who were able to create an environment of fun and adventure!

By the lesson’s end, stomach’s growled and bodies begged for a hot shower, satisfied to have conquered at the least a fear, or perhaps a few waves. I will need a few more lessons, which does’t break my heart in the least. It is just a reason to come back for another and continue down my list of fun to be had on the Long Beach Peninsula!
Find your list at www.funbeach.com but give yourself some time…or multiple visits to take it all in.

Skookumsurf.com has all the information you need about surf lessons, surf board rentals, skim boards, and bike rentals. They can accommodate singles and groups.

Kim Elizabeth MacQuarrie. freelance writer, lover of inspirational travel and all things delectable in the Pacific NW. She looks forward to exploring more locally, regionally, and globally.

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