This morning, my friend Richard, a Pacifica resident and longtime surfer, joined us in the water.

Well, my instructor, fellow student, and I stayed by the shore and surfed the whitewash while Richard paddled out to catch today’s very big waves. I saw him a couple times out there, but I’ve since lost him to a figurative and literal sea of white surfboards.

Today, I learned to leverage my board against oncoming waves while I’m paddling out, by shoving the back of the board down with my left hand to tilt the front in the air at an angle, my right hand resting on the front of the board to keep it from going totally vertical.

Katie Burke is in Linda Mar with Richard

I also got lots of pop-up practice. I’m still working on standing up, or when I manage to stand, staying up. This will take a lot of work, but I’m in no hurry. My instructor agreed with me that pop-up practice on dry land is boring, and he suggested I start coming out to the water two or three times a week.

“No more than that,” he advised, “or you’ll get saturated.”

He doesn’t think I need a lesson every time I paddle out. I beg to differ, so I said I’d figure out how to work around the surf school’s weekday schedule. My instructor said I don’t have to: he’ll meet me after work on weekday evenings.

So I’m now a semi-weekly surfer. Can’t wait to double up on my learning.

Richard just emerged from the water, looking like a pro. That’ll be me someday.

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About the Author: Katie Burke

Katie Burke
Katie Burke is an award-winning author, San Francisco attorney, journalist, and surfer. Her first book, Urban Playground: What Kids Say About Living in San Francisco, was critically acclaimed. Her next book, the forthcoming Sea Change: Women and Nonbinary People Reshaping Surfing Wave by Wave, is scheduled for publication in July 2023.

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