Step Into Liquid – Day 2

Disaster. And yesterday went so well.

The hard part about surfing isn’t standing up and finding balance. The hard part is picking the wave, timing it and having your board at the right angle. When I was in my group class, the instructor did all that work for me. He’d aim the board toward shore, find the wave, and then push me at exactly the right time. All I had to do was stand up, keep a low profile and stay on for a few seconds.

Today I was on my own, so it was my job to find the wave and time it. I failed miserably. I didn’t get a single wave. After an hour of exhausting myself, I decided I needed another plan of attack. Three possibilities came to me.

  1. Quit.
  2. Buy more lessons.
  3. Find something similar.

Quitting now means walking away knowing that at least I tried surfing. Buying more lessons means burning through my Summer of George money while I’ve got no income. That I’m reluctant to do.

The last option is the Similar Strategy. After my wrist surgery, I couldn’t lift weights for a long time. Then one day I discovered that I could do push-ups on my fists and it wouldn’t put any strain on my wrist. This kept my strength up until my wrist was healed.

What is similar to surfing? Bodyboarding. It’s cheaper, can fit in my car, and will provide me a way to build up my swimming endurance as well as learn wave patterns. Good idea or am I misguided?

Legacy Comments


Body boarding rocks… Body surfing is also a good way to learn waves, and you can even feel the water right through to your core. It’s awesome. Surfing just takes a lot of practice– I wouldn’t spend any more money on lessons 🙂

Step Into Liquid – Day 1

Today I took my 2 hour surfing lesson at the Eli Howard Surf School. It went much better than my snowboarding experience. I rode several waves to shore on the long foam surf board provided by the school.

I don’t have any photos of my first day of surfing, so go to Laird Hamilton’s web site and check out his photos. We’re both 6’3 and 215 pounds. Should be close enough. Right?

Legacy Comments


Man, I really envy you. I had every intention to take surfing lessons while I was in SoCal, but never got around to it.

I’m real impressed that you are spending your SOG wisely. Keep the learnings coming!

Summer of George Tips

One month ago today I quit my job of over 4 years and embarked on my Summer of George. I consider my first month to be a success, but not a total success. My mistakes were minor, but I figured I should discuss them for those of you that I might inspire to quit your jobs.

Health Insurance

The mistake I made was assuming that I could get health insurance as fast as one could get auto insurance. It took a full month to get insurance and my health card still hasn’t arrived in the mail.

Lesson: Buy your health insurance at least one month before leaving your job. If you work in a small crap company like I did, you may even find a cheaper plan than your employer offers.

Gear Up First

When I was a working guy I had a closet full of golf shirts and tan pants. Now that I’m hiking and biking, my needs are different. During my first month I spent way too time gearing up. I spent a week researching GPS units, only to buy one and learn that it isn’t supported on the 64 bit version of Windows XP. Had I wasted that time back at the office while I was getting paid it wouldn’t have been an issue.

Lesson: Buy all your clothes and toys before quitting your job.

Move Money First

Back in my office days, I’d buy and sell stocks while I was on the clock. I’d read financial articles and check stock tickers throughout the day. Now that I’m playing all day, I don’t want to be glued to CNBC and Ameritrade. The reality is my money is being actively managed by me, so I have to. Buy and hold only works in a secular bull market, which ended in 2000. This leaves the investor with 2 choices: do more homework or find some mutual funds that share your financial values. It took me way too long to figure this one out. Last week I started selling my stocks and soon will be set up in a few mutual funds. Of course I will always have a cash position ready to jump in after a huge sell-off or the perfect penny stock.

Lesson: If you plan to play during your time off, have your investments settled before you quit your job. This was my worst mistake.