Beachy Penny Surfer Girl

Oh, look, it's just me learning how to surf in the balmy Atlantic Ocean waters off the Space Coast aka Cape Canaveral specifically Cocoa Beach, NBD. Lord knows learning on our beaches at home is anything but ideal, what with the icy temps and deadly currents of the Northern Pacific waters. The closest I've been is windsurfing in the Bay as a girl, but even then I was wearing a wetsuit most of the time, so the idea of learning in 90-degree heat and salty bathwater was irresistible.

It might I look like I'm out there all by myself, but somewhere in all that delicious looking water is my officious seal-like instructor, Sandy, of Sandy Beach Surfing. (This was heavily discussed via Facebook the day of, and most of my friends bossed me into a proper lesson - thanks, guys! You were totally right.)

When we first met Sandy, we were setting up shop on the beach. We had no plans. Our plans were to unfurl our towels and beach blankets, drink our booze, frolic in the waters and sun ourselves like big fat seal pups. M worked two big umbrellas into the sand to shade our lounge-y beach chairs. Then came Sandy, demanding money for the rental of the beach chairs and umbrellas, which we assumed were hotel property (they weren't).

"And who are you?" I demanded, lowering my Ray-Bans in the most no-nonsense way possible a girl can whilst in repose on the beach wearing a striped bikini from Barcelona.

"I'm Sandy," he said.

"And why is payment required? What for, exactly?" I bossed. Once he answered in a way I deemed satisfactory and not a tourist scam, we happily forked over the cash, and he did not appear to be nonplussed by my scrutiny. It wasn't until later that I found out he was also a surf instructor.

I'd wanted to learn how to surf out there - planned on it, even - but who knew what the day had in store, who knew what the sea had roiling there beneath its cerulean depths? We didn't pretend to know. We're more the "wing it" type when it comes to vacation. Besides, just one week before we landed a plague of rare, poisonous jellyfish clouded the shores and the lifeguards raised their red flags to warn people away from the sea. More than one thousand people were stung out of the Atlantic that weekend alone, and we didn't know whether or not we'd be able to enjoy the ocean at all during our stay.

Thankfully, the red flags were downgraded to yellow by the time we arrived. Sure, we would have preferred green, or really even no flags at all, but we were okay with yellow. I was even prepared with waterproof eyeliner (Stila's All Day Waterproof, recommended by the ultra-hot Nicolette Mason) and Benefit's BADGal Waterproof Mascara. I was a Girl Scout. We were taught to BE PREPARED.

After a couple hours of lounging and reading and drinking and debating on our Droid phones, I waved Sandy down and asked him if there was anywhere within walking distance where I could get a surf lesson. He did not hesitate to raise both hands, palms out, and smack them heartily upon himself. "I give surf lessons," he exclaimed, "that's me. Sandy Beach Surfing, right here." We agreed on a time, his hourly rate was beyond reasonable, and I barely even had a move a pinky finger!

And while he was most definitely not, say, kind of like this:

He was a great instructor. Super enthusiastic, didn't dick around with a bunch of wordy prep and such, just threw me into the deep end and made sure I had a super fun (and safe) time out there. It was amazing and I had a blast. It's really hard work, and my knee is still a little bit scabby, but I pretty much kicked ass for a first-timer - even if it doesn't quite look it in these pictures. (M could only stand around in the surf for so long, and our hour-long lesson turned into more like two.) We even managed to discussion religion and marriage equality in between waves! Word.

When I finished up and walked back over to M and the petite, they were all hoots and hollers about how well I'd done. It was adorable and really sweet. M gave me some of her magical served-in-a-tiny-pail drink, and sniffed my neck and called me her beachy penny surfer girl. I never even saw a single jellyfish.