“Cowabunga” is a slang from 1960’s surf culture, cried out enthusiastically when surfing — The surfer’s cry “Cowabunga” as they climb a 12 foot wall of water and “take the drop.”
When Ryan and I went to California, we visited my sister and her husband in San Francisco. Their home is right across the ocean, so naturally my sister’s husband surfs every day before work and sometimes afterwards.
You should see their garage — it’s scattered with surfboards and wetsuits/drysuits — which made it beneficial to us, since we didn’t have to rent anything. They had everything we needed.
One thing we really wanted Dan and my sister to teach us, was to surf. The next day after we arrived from the airport, we got in the car and headed south.
I mean, where else would be a better place to try out our surfing skills, than in one of the best beaches in California: Santa Cruz.
We drove from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, suited up and placed the surfboards on our head and made our way to the beach.
At the beach, we were provided with very basic instructions.
At this point, I started getting nervous and at the same time amped to get out there. I had never surfed before, and I was terrified of sharks and experiencing a dirty licking (taking a gnarly wipeout). Fortunately, this wasn’t Ryan’s first time on a surfboard and he was able to calm my nerves… a little.
We all jumped in the water and with our surfboards, positioned our chest against the board and began paddling. The water was pretty flat where we were, so we had to paddle out about 500 meters to catch better waves.
Further out in the distance, we pretty much saw this:
The Pacific Ocean was expectedly frigid – hovering around 11 °C (52 degrees F).
Although the feeling of the crisp water touching parts of my bare skin, dissipated when we started moving. What distracted me from the cold temperatures was the focus. The focus of performing a successful pop-up (from lying with your chest flat on the board to standing, all in one jump) and riding a wave.
I wish I could say that this badass chick was me. Sadly, I didn’t even look close to doing that.
I’m certain I looked more like this:
In case you’re unaware, it takes a great deal of upper-body strength and vicious power-paddling to accomplish a pop-up.
Surfing in general is physically demanding. We were paddling 90% of the time — the harder you paddle, the better chance you have of riding a wave.
It was an exhilarating experience and we’ll be back trying this again.
For those of you who’ll be visiting Santa Cruz sometime soon, here are a couple of places to go for surfing lessons:
THE BEST SUSHI
I have been gong to Sushi Sam’s restaurant, since I was 10. When this place could only seat 15-20 people and the owner, Sam was behind the sushi counter creating beautiful sushi dishes from the opening of the restaurant to closing.
Personally, I prefer smaller restaurants. There’s more of a genuine and personal quality to it.
Almost every night, there would be a line up around the block to get a table at his restaurant, but it’s worth the wait. Trust me.
I absolutely love sushi. I can have different dishes everyday and will unlikely get sick of it.
The restaurant has now expanded to fit an additional 30 people (I believe). The sushi you will consume here is so incredibly fresh and creatively infused with varying ingredients that you won’t need any soy sauce to counter the taste.
In fact, Sam (the owner and head chef) will be offended if you dip his sushi in soy sauce.
If you’re lucky enough to get inside, look at the walls around you. They are adorned with autographs of famous actors and actresses.
All the staff are also all Japanese and they love it when you say a few things in Japanese to them. So here are a few phrases I learned in University when I took a Japanese course, and I’ll never forget them.
Hello! = Konnichiwa!
How are you? = O genki desu ka? *Note that the “u” is silent*
Thank you = Arigato
Thank you very much = Domo arigato gozaimasu *Note that the “u” is silent*
Please = Kudasai
How much is this = Ikura desu ka?
Goodbye = Sayōnara
Fire! = kaji da! *Hopefully you won’t have to use this* 🙂
Author’s note: The Wanderlust Bear also provides a great article and review of Sushi Sam’s.
THE BEST FISH TACOS
San Diego was our last destination before heading back north to San Francisco. It’s an incredibly beautiful city. We were only here for one night. the AirB&B we stayed recommended only one place to go for the best fish tacos.
It was this place.
The oysters and fish tacos tasted so fresh and unlike anything we had before.
Not only was the food completely mouth-watering, but the view was spectacular.
We watched the sunset and surfers (of course) do successful pop-ups.
Hope you enjoyed the blog! Feel free to let me know any additional recommendations for places to visit when in San Diego!