Jumping Off the Edge of the Earth - Surfing and Teaching English Abroad

By: Zac Heisey

I’ll never forget the first time I went surfing.  It was a cold, dreary day at Zuma beach in Los Angeles.  My friend handed me an ill-fitting wet suit and a surfboard that could float an elephant.

“What do I do?” I asked him.  “Just paddle out” he yelled over his shoulder as he bolted for the water, leaving me on the beach.  Rather than gracefully riding towards the shore, I spent most of my time choking on salt water and sea foam.  But for some unknown reason, something changed inside me that day, a fundamental change.  Even though I didn’t catch a single wave, the mysterious, raw, and ever-changing nature of riding waves had me hooked.  I was enthralled with the unique feeling of nervous anxiety and excitement that comes with entering a world where I had no idea what to expect.  It was one of the few times I was actually aware of feeling “alive”.