On beach-bumming and teaching an old dog new tricks

March 16th, 2014, 8am

It was 20°C with overcast. The wind was light.

I was propped up on my elbows at the base of the Miraflores cliffs, beach-bumming and occasionally snickering at badly burned tourists while they hobbled behind their tanned surfing teachers, dragging boards in the sand, gasping in the water as they miscalculated the depth and rockiness of their exit point.

Quite predictably, the groups included a never-ending rotation of 20-something faux adventurers, many who seemed to be striking off another item from their tattered New Year’s Resolution must-do list, some possibly dragged by their significant other and who will never let them live it down. But before my cynic heart completely took over, I was captivated by a new student at the end of the beach — not by any of the aforementioned resolution-ers, but a not-completely-fit 60-something woman, who approached the beach solo and joyfully signed up for a private lesson. I couldn’t take my eyes away as she suited up, attended a quick pre-water session, and cautiously entered the water; within 2 hours, this unidentified heroine was standing up and riding a tiny wave for — I’m not kidding — at least 10 seconds. I couldn’t detect the expression on her face from my position on the beach, but believe me, my mouth was fully agape, back erect, ready to applaud. I looked back at her instructor, who seemed to be the most excited of us all, pumping his fist in the air.

So as I do when I’m away from home and have too much time to think, I pondered about the time I waste: checking Instagram more times than I breathe per minute, looking up past girlfriends of my favourite celebrities, and how I gladly spend hours wandering around a city, listening to podcasts and popping into trendy restaurants to stuff my face with double-decker burgers. All this, and yet I still complain about having no time to achieve the small bucket items in my own life. I mean, clearly, if a 60 year old can learn the basics of surfing in 2 hours, I think this here 37-year-old gal can work towards something kick-ass, too… like, perhaps, master another language or get over my damned fear of water and finally learn how to swim — two things I have made excuses for over the past 10-15 years.

That’s it. I’ve gotta stop making excuses. Now. I must ride that wave!

But then again, a few more days on the beach would be nice. After all, for a suffering Canadian, I’d say being a beach bum in the middle of March is a pretty decent achievement, too.

James, erin, Paul, Vivien and 3 others said thanks.

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Connie Tsang

Toronto-based event + conference photographer, lover of words, consumer of interesting things.

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