Surfing and Getting Healthy in Charleston

Hello All.  To those of you up North freezing your butts off, nah, nah, nah.  We had a horrible cold snap this week down to 35 this morning, but yesterday it was a balmy 68 degrees F.  Too much serious stuff on the blog this week, time to have some fun.  I’ve shared this with many of you, but I thought it would be good to put this out there. 

A friend of mine, some of you might know him, B. H. Rader, invited me to go out surfing with him last summer with some friends from Church.  I took him up on it…he let me borrow his 9 foot something long board….and was instantly hooked.  It had to have been funny, or maybe sad to watch.  I was tipping the scales at about 250, and after about 20 minutes, it felt like there were these useless hunks of meat hanging off my shoulders.  I was spent, but undeterred.  B. H. took me out a couple of more times letting me use his board, and once I had a nice check come in, bought one he had sitting in his office, 9 ft 1″, really thick and wide, just right for my big self. 

Well, I really wanted to get into this, and it was really tough paddling around all that weight.  So I started going to the beach 3 days a week for as long as I could stand it and still feel like I had enough strength to not get hurt.  Then, started real slow, running so I could ditch some of this weight.   So, between paddling my butt off, and running a few days a week, by August/September, I was down to 200, and then finally 195. 

Surfing is a lot harder than it looks, and there’s no way to learn without just going out there and working it.  Each trip, I’d have something new to be excited about.  First, I was able to stand up for  the first time.  Eventually, was able to make my first turn instead of coming straight in.  You don’t have a lot of time to set up at Folly most days, so it was pretty exciting to be able to turn.  And a lot of the time, it’s just like a big washing machine out there, and I’d just go out just for the workout.  And what a workout.  There were times when I’d have to walk up the beach three or four times after being drug downwind several hundred yards. 

Anyway, surfing changed my life.  My back is much better not carrying around so much weight.  More energy.  Look better, more confident.  Had to go out and buy some cheap pants to wear to work, all the old ones way to big.  Fit into some pants hadn’t worn in years, so that was good.  But mostly just stoked about the water warming up again, not brave enough to go out in a wet suit.  Soon, it’ll be two three days a week out at the wash out again, knocking heads with the younger kids trying to stay out of their way.  They’ve been pretty tolerant of this old fart with his huge 9 foot monstrosity. 

Maybe by the end of this summer, we’ll go out and get me some new dress clothes and wear something besides khakis and golf shirts.  Want to make sure the weight is going to stay off first But what would really be cool would be able to work into a shorter board.  It’s like turning a battleship on that monster board of mine.  We’ll see.  And if you want to give it a try, let me know.  Between B. H. and I, we might be able to hook you up with a ride.  There’s almost always something worth riding at Folly, other than low tide.  Just before high tide and then for about another hour or so, it’s usually good enough for beginners.  It’s harder when it’s real disorganized, but at least you get to be out there, paddling around, and working off some of that winter blubber, and on your coordination.  Hope to see you out there. 


5 responses to “Surfing and Getting Healthy in Charleston

  1. I am glad I stumbled on this site. We are moving from DC to Charleston (Danile Island we hope) in spring of 2008. It is nice to get a look at what life is like there. Hearing you comment about a 34 degree cold snap is pretty funny to me!!! We were in the single digits during that time! I am glad we are moving on to nicer wearther and apparently a beach lifestyle. I hope I can get my boys surfing lessons!

  2. Yes, surfing lessons are quite helpful. And there are some good videos as well. McKevlins surf shop on Folly Beach has a pretty good selection. One of the things I like about surfing at Folly, is that you can usually find some space where you aren’t in any ones way…usually. A word of warning, especially after your feet have marinated in the balmy salt water, stay well clear of the rocks, which were placed by some well meaning conservationists to prevent errosion. The rocks will shred your parboiled skin. You can’t see them at high tide, so make sure you always know where they are.

  3. Well, just so you know, when you tease us up North about how frigid it is, it is Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah. Your taunt was shy of three Nah Nah’s!

    I spent the whole month of January in Charleston on business staying at an ocean front condo on IOP and really enjoyed watching people surf. I also enjoyed reading your BLOG and cannot wait to move to Charleston as soon as my house sells in this tundra called Indiana.

    You’ve inspired me to maybe give surfing a try when I live there. Sounds like it was a great way to lose some weight and tone up. When I arrive, I’ll look for the buff guy on the 9′ er on Folly catching one with the younger guys!

    Soon to be a Charlestonian…

  4. Hi Lesli,

    Thanks for your comments. We have plenty of room for you. I friggin’ hate working out, it’s so boring. After the initial three of four weeks, I was able to stay out there for about 3 hours before just giving out. Can you think of anything you would do for three hours to keep your heart pumping? There’s nothing like it…I didn’t really care if I caught any waves or not, it was just good to be out there.

    I had read that surfers can be pretty rough on newcomers, rough meaning beating the crap out of them. Not so at Folly. I think I was sneared at maybe twice all summer, and had it coming to me most likely. Most of the time, when I got in someones way, they’d look back to make sure I was OK. That they just hit board and not my head. I can’t wait until April gets here. I might be freezing my butt off, but I’ll be out there. Kind of going stir crazy with not much to do that is physical. Stay in touch!

  5. I am looking for a B. H. Rader who I went to Worth College with, back in the 70’s. Could you ask him if he knows me and would be willing to talk with me. It would be great to “catch up”. You can give him my email address if you like…

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