My host is my longtime friend Loredana (who had a part in the Perl community already by being the author of the bio I used for the first Camel). She insisted that I try "surfing" because the easiest waves were down at Waikiki beach, and if I was going to learn anywhere, there'd be the place.
What she didn't realize is just how afraid I am of the water, having never learned to properly swim. So, I do the shore instruction, and then start paddling out into the water. Ugh, salt water in my eyes within about a minute, as soon as the first wave crested over the board. This was the first time salt water had ever been in my eyes, and it stung.
But then, as I got a bit further out ("paddle! paddle!", the instructor screams), I started taking on (swallowing) water as the waves splashed over the board. Ugh, one wave nearly knocks me off, and I start panicking, wondering how I'm supposed to dogpaddle with water of varying heights and slopes, and with a board leashed to the foot that needs to go down into the water. Another splash hits my face, nearly knocks me off the board again, and that's it for me. I get turned around, ride a tiny wave back toward shore, and call it done.
Surfing the web: good. Surfing in real life: scary as hell.
But at least I tried. I guess I'll need to prepare better by being in salt water and bumpy water before I go out again. I'm not confident enough in my ability to avoid drowning to trust any additional complications (like handling a board or bigger waves).
As I left the beach, I saw MJD and his wife, amazingly coincidentally, although MJD is down here for the same reason. He talked about a sunblock with "SPF 57". I insisted that it probably was "Heinz 57 Steak Sauce" but relabeled.