My husband is 67 years old and still throws his body into smashing ocean waves to body surf. He’s been doing this every summer since he learned to swim.
His whole Florida family body surfs. In fact, there used to be an annual Houser body surfing contest with a prized golden statue given to the winner to keep until the next contest.
I remember the year Phil won. It was HUGE!
Serious bragging rights through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Lots of smack talk for months before the next tournament.
Now as the 5 Houser brothers and 2 sisters have gotten older, the contest is a little more informal and I don’t know if anyone knows what happened to the statue. I can tell you, WE don’t have it.
This was the conversation between Houser siblings on the beach last week during our reunion vacation in St. Augustine.
“Want to body surf?”
“Eh, I don’t know. Those waves look rough today.”
“Yeah. Maybe tomorrow.”
Anyway, I decided that it was time to throw my “hat in the ring”, or rather my body, since the competition seemed a little less cut throat and ambitious this year.
“Teach me how to body surf.”
My husband gave me the stink eye. ” You won’t like it.”
“You don’t know. I might. I’ve never tried it.”
“You won’t like it.”
“Well, first. You have to go into the ocean.”
“Second, you have to get your hair wet and third you have to hold your breath.
Also, if you don’t do it just right, the waves will roll you around and you might swallow some sea water.”
Yep. It sounded like something I wouldn’t like.
Nothing about that was appealing except my husband can do it. Just like I want a taste of anything on his plate if it looks good, I want to try this, cause he makes it look like so much fun.
And besides, I hadn’t had a good dare in awhile where I risk body and limb.
But Jeannie, my sister in law, is ready to cheer me on and took my iPhone to try to document the event.
Now, the thing is you have to go catch a wave and to catch a wave we had to swim far out this day.
Phil is yelling at me over the waves, “SWIM! Use your arms! Come on! You’re not going to be able to do this if you can’t even get to the wave!!”
I’m yelling back, literally trying to keep my head above water. “Why are you being so mean?”
“This is serious. You’re going to be bashed by a wave if you don’t get it together.”
Training day. It ain’t easy.
“Okay, now keep your body really stiff like a board. And when I say go, you go.”
“What do you mean no?”
“You go. I want to see you do it first.”
I watch Phil dive into a wave and it pushes him toward shore. It doesn’t look as simple or as much fun as it did from shore.
He swims back. “You ready?”
“Okay, well you don’t have a choice now. Here comes a wave. Go, go, GO…!”
Eyes closed. Water pushing me. Holding my breath. Salt water is in my nose. Ride over in 6 seconds. Jeanne says it was 3 seconds max. I pull my head out of water grabbing air, dog paddling.
Jeannie’s yelling…”That wasn’t body surfing!!!”
I’m thinking, that’s as close as I’m getting. Thanks. I’m swimming for shore, eyes and nose burning.
I get the idea.
This body surfing thing requires practice and I know right now THAT is NOT going to happen.
This dare is a “one and done” or a half and done. Like the time I rode a Mechanical Bull. See video. ( That was not a scream of joy)
Still, how would I know if I didn’t try?
And I must say, after this FIRST, I have a much finer appreciation for the daring body surfing Housers, especially my husband who is always telling me about his death defying body surfing feats.
I believe you, honey. You should have the golden statue permanently.