Friday, April 18, 2008

Yeah, Surfing Really Is That Great

I surfed! I surfed!

In Honolulu two years ago, I took a couple of surf lessons on the beach. One of the teachers asked me about being Korean and told me he had "a Korean friend in LA" that he absolutely had to put me in touch with. I wasn't sure why since there are many Korean people in this world and sure, a lot of them, statistically, could be friend material, I suppose...

Well, that's how I met Flip. He's the Korean friend in LA and we met over the internet. We emailed back and forth a bunch and he told me about his life and his mom's life and his grandfather's life. It was great because I'd never heard of Dosan but of course when I had dinner with my parents one night and told them that my new friend was the grandson of Dosan, they were verrry impressed. They rarely act impressed.

So yesterday I met Flip for the first time! He took me to a place called Point Dume. He had a wetsuit and surfboard for me and even some vitamin water. I know - who is this guy?

Well, he's like ramen - instant friend. He's 52 and he grew up on that beach. He tells lots of great stories like the time he took Barbara Streisand to court, the two times he almost got married, or his theory that Kim Sung-Il was a Chinese man planted by the Communists and not Korean at all.

The water was extremely cold, so cold that I wanted little wetsuits for my hands, feet and face, too. But Flip didn't even seem to notice! When my surfboard split in half (what?! not my fault) he gave me his and just kind of hung out in the water, like my own personal gentle sea creature. He'd push me into the waves and would tell everyone we ran into that I caught 5 out of 7 waves. He must know that I'm really just a fourth-grade keener at heart and that I live for good grades.

The best part? He's this totally different being on a surfboard. He surfs like magic! It's really pretty amazing.

Also, did you know that there's this thing that people do where they stand on a surfboard with a paddle? It's not every day that you see something you have literally never seen before. Flip says it's only been happening for the last couple of years but that it's traditional in Hawaii.

After a day at the beach, I drove back over Laurel Canyon, my favourite drive in LA, and met up with Katie, Philippe and Rebecca. Some days this trip feels like a super-long extend-a-mix vacation. Is that ok?


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