WESTPORT, WA - From the very moment I first glimpsed those six to eight-foot waves I knew one thing. I was glad I wasn't going in there alone.
Surfing vet Mike Webb of Tacoma came out shaking his head. “Yeah I really got kicked around out there," he said. "I felt like I was in a washing machine."
“It's got a shallow bottom,” says Wolden. “So we can actually bring people out and do lessons waist deep in the water and still get good surfing in ."
The wet suit worked wonders. I was never cold but just marching through the surf, and ducking my head into the waves, got the adrenaline pumping.
“Our goal is to get you standing up in white water,” says Calder, who claims a 95% success rate with clients of all abilities.
Mother of three Tammy Reeves was only on her third lesson and she looked good riding the waves.
“You can let go of everything and just be right there at that moment, ” she said.
The first 20 minutes of my lesson was devoted to body surfing and, apparently, amusing the cameraman shooting safely from shore. At one point Calder and I got pounded by three waves hitting at once.
“The ocean doesn't care who you are,” says Calder. “It's gonna do what it does.”
I practiced pop-ups on the sand, trying to build muscle memory, so I'd be able to stand on the surfboard in the waves. Yoga would have helped.
“You should be surfing just like that,” enthused Calder.
And just like that, on my very first day, the video proves I was surfing like a pro. Oh, wait! At second glance, that wasn’t me. I was the guy falling over and over and over again.
But if you freeze one of my last efforts – and you can bet we do in the story we aired -- I'm up. Surfing. Like a Summer God. For almost a full second. And then I fall over.
My excuse: I’m 6 and a half feet tall and uncoordinated, but I had a great time out there. Maybe that's what's important.
Westport, WA won, "Best Surfing Destination", in Evening's 2016 Best Northwest Escapes viewers poll.