Tag Archives: surfing lessons

Family Vacation Part 2 – Arriving in San Diego: Beach/Surf Lesson Day

Toby & I

We arrived in San Diego around 11 A.M. and were pretty hungry from the trip. We ate at a wonderful restaurant called The Fishery (Yelp review here). Toward the end of the meal our bill arrived and Toby and I got into talking about the amount owed & tipping.

Miller spills the pepper.
Miller spills the pepper.

He recalled and brought up that I used to wait tables at The Olive Garden. I shared with him that servers don’t get paid very much for their time (usually half of minimum wage), and it’s important to tip generously, which I did.

After that we drove a few blocks down to Pacific Beach, where the rest of our afternoon would unfold.

House we saw walking from the beach to the surf lesson office.

The highlight of the afternoon were surfing lessons. Toby & I opted to try and learn the inner-peace of bonding with the ocean, and as how most new things go, ended up struggling to stand up properly on the surf board.  We got our surfing lesson from the San Diego Surf School (full Yelp review here).

The office of the surf school was a few blocks from the beach, so I had a nice, slow walk with Toby and we chatted a little about life, the houses on the block, and the cool bananas he found growing at at one of them.   photo-8


He was pretty excited about finding bananas growing in California. Needless to say, the walk to and from the office was memorable for me. As a dad, one of those moments where time just seems to slow down and nothing else is going on in the world besides you spending quality time with your child.

Surf lesson


Our instructor taught us the basics of surfing properly: laying tummy-down on your surf board with your feet/toes touching the very back of the board. photo-12From there you paddle when the waves hit you with closed-fingered hands, then you prop yourself up with your hands on the side of the surf board (not grasping the sides, but palms down pressing up your body weight). Then from there in one motion you prop up your entire body weight and “hop” your legs into position.

Video of me attempting to surf

Video of Toby attempting to surf

Easier said that done. This guy, who lifts weights 3 times a week, goes to gentle yoga once a week, and has a weekly tennis match, struggled with the last part all day long. I actually excelled at the pop-up, but failed time and time again getting my feet far enough apart on the board to maintain any kind of balance. In fact, I recall a lot of grunting sounds after pushing up from laying flat to trying to manuever myself into proper standing position. What’s the secret?

photo-13Needless to say, I was proud to watch Toby keep trying over and over, having a great attitude throughout the entire lesson. Not once did he great frustrated with falling. At the end of the day, we were both tired, but were also feeling fulfilled that we had a new experience, something that I’m hopeful we’ll both remember for the rest of our lives.

Will I pursue surfing avidly? Probably not. I can tell you that I did manage to stand up for about 2 1/2 waves though. But I do see the draw of the sport/activity, being one with the waves, and a certain inner-peace that could be draw as a result of mastering it.

Panoramic video of the beach

We are staying at the Carlsbad by the Sea Resort (full review here, photo-11after we check out on Saturday) The evening consisted of Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which are directly across the street from us, so we walked over. We ate at a restaurant called Blaze Pizza, man oh man, all I have to say about that place is, go there! Tasty thin-crust pizza with all the right ingredients and seasoning. Afterwards we strolled the plaza, with my boys having to stop at every Ipod & iPhone cover vendor we passed (boys these days with technology, huh?), had the incredible Brownie ice cream from the legendary Haagan-Daas, and ate a super-tasty vanilla cupcake  with cream cheese frosting from CB’s Cupcakes.

photo-3Have you visited San Diego or Carlsbad as a tourist or are a resident? Would love your comments about the area below! photo-4