"'You can’t actually surf that thing,' said SUP #1."
I bought a new, red bikini and I feel fine.
In fact, for anyone stranded under the marine layer with flat surf as far as the eye can see, I recommend a red bikini. It’ll perk a girl straight up.
The other day I paddled out for a surf. It was very small. Hardly worthy, in fact, of calling it surf at all. But I saw a wave-like movement in the ocean and the sun stole out from behind the fog. My morale lifted! I could go surfing, maybe. So, I pulled my goofy twinfin out of the stack and headed to the beach.
There I found the usual assortment of summer people: moms with umbrellas, kids on wavestorms, skimboarders, kids on boogie boards, kids wearing goggles, kids wearing nothing at all. A few forlorn types like me, looking to try to stand on surfboards. And of course, the ever-present SUP-wielders.
Just then, I saw a small bump in the water that might have been a peak or might have been a whale fart. Either way, I was going to try to surf it. This is exciting! I might surf this whale fart, I thought, paddling madly. And then I stood up and and there appeared — well, I wouldn’t call it a wall, necessarily, more like, a speed bump or a furrow. Can water have furrows? The ocean, it furrowed its brow at my presumption. Who is this, who dares to attempt surfing?
I threw my middle finger at its furrow and slid along until, disaster! A small child on a Wavestorm, directly in my path, going straight. It would be bad to run over the small child, I thought, even as that furrow beckoned me to keep surfing. I did not keep surfing. I turned to go straight, just like the small child on the Wavestorm. This decision meant the end of my attempt at surfing. Disappointed, I paddled back out to wait for another wave-like formation to appear.
As I was sitting there, staring at the horizon, thinking about nothing and everything, the way you do when you stare at the horizon on a day with not much surf at all, I quite suddenly heard voices above me. It’s must be God, I thought! God is talking to me, right here in the ocean. This seemed weird. I have not ever been what you call church-going, so you can imagine my confusion. How strange to be singled out in this way!
Looking around, I noticed a pair of SUP-wielders drifting in my direction. They are going to interrupt my conversation with God, I thought. The nerve! I began to move away, because really, this is the natural reaction of any normal person at such a sight. Not one SUP, but two! And coming my way. What else is a girl going to do but move as quickly as possible in the opposite direction.
As I began to paddle, I realized that the voice I heard was not actually God! It was one of the SUP-wielding men. This was very disappointing and I went to move away still more quickly.
Just before I moved out of earshot, I realized I was in the presence of a SUP on SUP blood feud. Intrigued, I stopped to listen. What could a pair of SUP-wielding bros have to blood feud over, I wondered. Surely, everything is peace, love, and unicorns among the SUP brethren. Surely, there could be no reason for the kind of infighting that is normal among our beloved, but oh so grumpy, surfing tribe.
“You can’t actually surf that thing,” said SUP #1. I wasn’t sure what he meant by this, as I’m not sure anyone can actually surf a SUP. What could he mean?
I looked more closely at the second SUP-wielder. SUP #2 was riding an inflatable board. It was large. Very large. I tried to imagine the dimensions, but my mind proved too feeble. Surely, it was longer than any board needed to be. And it must have been four inches thick. Or more! I tried to imagine surfing on it, like the Goodyear Blimp, if the Goodyear Blimp went in the ocean. This seemed… not possible.
“Oh no, I have surfed it, no problem!” said SUP #2, his enthusiasm unimpaired by the incipient blood feud about to envelope him. If he sounded a little defensive, well, it can’t be easy to maintain the sangfroid while standing on a blow-up doll.
Determined on a blood feud right there in the lineup, with small children watching, SUP #1 wasn’t about to let it go.
“Those things are for floating around in the harbor. Or doing yoga,” said SUP #1. The way he said yoga made it sound like the very sickest burn, though I bet his wife buys him lululemon for men all the time.
I’m learning so much here, I thought. Riding a SUP is totally fine! But riding a blow-up SUP is very bad! You might be tempted to do yoga on your blow-up SUP, which is also very bad!
I did not know it was possible to have a blood feud in the SUP world. I felt suddenly so enlightened. The SUP people aren’t that different from us! They have petty fights over things like what their boards are made out of and what they look like. Surely, you can’t surf that, they say.
I felt a sense of vertigo, the way you do, when you suddenly see something from a totally different direction than how you’ve seen it before. Like when you hang upside down on the monkey bars at school. The ground is like, right there and your feet are way up in the sky and all the boys can see your underwear. The whole world is so different when you hang upside down.
I was worried that this whole SUP-wielder blood feud was going to get straight out of hand, never mind that there were children present. So I paddled farther out toward the horizon, even though not even the slightest bump seemed likely to appear there. The voices faded into the distance. I do not know how SUP-wielders resolve their feuds. Do they throw rocks? Poke one another with their paddles? I’m not sure I want to know the answers to these questions.
Soon another tiny bump appeared that bore enough resemblance to a wave that I began to paddle. And this time, there was no small child on a Wavestorm, and I slid down the furrow, as long as I could, until finally, I reached the beach. There was no way I was going to find another wave in the mostly flat sea, I figured. So I took off my leash and walked up the beach, past all the beachgoers with their coolers and their umbrellas. And I wrapped up in my towel and slid off my suit.
And then I put on my red bikini, and smiled up at the sun, all thoughts of blood feuds forgotten. Nothing possibly could go wrong for a girl when she’s wearing a red bikini.