The first real surf lesson I had was a private lesson with my brother Trent at Ventura Point. The instructor’s name was Jeff Belzer, a very cool and nice guy. He is also very well known in Ventura because he has won a lot of surf competitions and he is owner of a surf school and conducts surf camps: Makos Surf Lessons. To start off the lesson, we watched the waves and evaluated the surf, looking for the best wave break as well as determining the best spot for surf that day. It took five minutes to decide where the waves looked best. The waves were okay there, but we decided to change our spot to a bit better location and parked in front of our chosen surf spot. After getting our wet suits on, we grabbed our boards and walked down to the beach and started our warm-ups. We stretched and did jumping jacks then, headed into the water by ourselves without Jeff so he could evaluate our skills from the beach.
As Trent and I paddled into the water, the waves crashed into us since, at the time, we didn’t know how to duck dive; it was very hard to paddle out. When I pulled into my first wave, I attempted to stand up, but tumbled headfirst back into the ocean. Trent on the other hand successfully stood on his board. Being the older brother, I was embarrassed that my little brother bested me. But within a minute I successfully caught a wave. After about 15 minutes of surfing, Jeff signaled us back to shore to give us a lecture on how to improve our surfing. A couple things he suggested included to go down the line when surfing, pop up quickly onto the board, and above all, always keep your balance.
We headed back out, but this time Jeff joined us in the water and Trent and I both caught some great waves. After 45 minutes of instruction in the water using our sushi boards, we got to try out some spectacular epoxy short boards that Jeff had brought along. I loved using these shorter boards! Part of the lesson was to have Jeff help us figure out what kind of boards we should upgrade to.
When our sea time was up with Jeff, we met on shore and he gave us ideas of what the next step up for boards should be. Jeff suggested I get a wide 6ft 4” Roberts’s board, and make it wide. For my brother, he said the same but his board could be wide or skinny. Everyone liked the idea of epoxy boards since epoxy is stronger. Our boards living atop our boat Kandu, would likely fare better than fiberglass boards.
Thanking Jeff for all his time and great advice, I felt excited about how much I had learned. He gave us both great suggestions and pointers. I will always remember the advice that Jeff Belzer from Ventura Makos gave me.
Following our lesson with Jeff, we bought 6ft 4” boards and surfed with them frequently to put our new information to the test. We loved the feeling of the new boards! But for us it wasn’t enough. Trent and I decided to buy new smaller boards with our own money. Again at Roberts’ work surf shop, we found two beautiful surfboards. Trent bought a 5ft 7” fiberglass board that had a flaming paint job on it. I bought a 5ft 6” fiberglass board, which was just plain white: a blank canvas to paint a red and blue lightening bolt. We brought them both home and a few days later we were floating on clouds in the ocean.