Surfing to sixty | Two Decades of Kids and Counting | Sally Torbey | Palo Alto Online |

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By Sally Torbey

Surfing to sixty

Uploaded: Apr 11, 2016

Now that I have crossed over to my late fifites and am on the inevitable slide to sixty, I have a new goal. I want to learn to surf. This is a long held ambition of mine. Ever since I swooned to The Beach Boys' songs of sun, surf and sand as an anxious, awkward teenager at dances in an Illinois high school gymnasium, I secretly knew that I was meant to be a surfer. I had a chance when my parents moved to Ventura when I was in my mid-twenties. While attending graduate school at UCSB, I lived with them for a couple of years and became pretty proficient at boogy boarding. My dad and I hit the surf almost every morning before he headed to work and I headed to class. But with full days of studying, research, working as a teaching assistant and applying to medical school, I told myself I was too busy to take up surfing, but the real reason was I was too self-conscious to try.

My dream was reinvigorated when I dragged my family to The Beach Boys in concert over winter break. A recommendation for a Santa Cruz surf school from a new acquaintance who mentioned she learned to surf as an adult was next, and it all culminated in my two daughters and I out on Cowell Beach at a surf lesson last week. I was by far the oldest person within sight. It was cold and windy, and paddling out completely exhausted me. But on a couple of waves I managed to stand up for a tenth of a second, and it was as exhilarating as I always knew it would be. I am recruiting friends and have already booked another lesson, and I'm eying a tacky tin "Gone Surfing" sign for the front door!