When Can I Surf?

January 9, 2015

Me at Ventura's Surfers' Point with my new board, formerly Robert Weiner's.
Me at Ventura’s Surfers’ Point with my new board, formerly Robert Weiner’s.

Surfing is the sport that I like most in the world. It is what I look forward to doing every day. The first time I ever surfed was in Hawaii, but I couldn’t paddle my way into the wave as I was too weak. I was only 8 years old. My parents and little brother Trent tried surfing in Hawaii as well. It was very fun but other than that I wasn’t that excited about the sport. When I really started getting into surfing was when I moved to Ventura. Sure I did some surfing along the way in Venice during a summer camp one year and during Junior Lifeguards the summer before we moved, but surfing didn’t become my passion until Ventura.

Age 6, at Waikiki, catching my first wave, "Shakka, Brah!"
Age 6, at Waikiki, catching my first wave, “Shakka, Brah!”

The first boards we had were the wave storm long foam blue boards from Costco. But after a couple weeks in fair weather Ventura surfing in spring suits, we were sure we were ready for the next step up. Mom took us over to “Play It Again Sports” to find some second hand full wetsuits because Ventura waters are cold. My dad saw a great deal on Sushi boards at Costco and bought them, surprising us with them one day. When Trent and I saw them we were both extremely happy and eager to take them into the water.

When we moved to Ventura everything was about the boat: unpacking, packing, moving again and so on. Yet, Mom would take us surfing often right after school. At the time, we tried to make surfing a daily event since we weren’t in any organized sports and didn’t have a lot of friends. We were fanatics my brother and I. Our passion for the sport surfing had begun! My parents would hear the same questions over and over again. It was either, “Can we go surfing today?” or “Can we go surfing with Charlie?”

Surfing with Charlie
Three pals goofing off at Faria Beach in Ventura


One day while we were surfing at the fun beginner spot called Mondo’s just north of Ventura at Faria Beach, my brother Trent saw (who is now our best friend) Charlie, a boy from his 5th grade class at Pierpont. Trent paddled over to see him and after awhile, Trent and Charlie along with some friends walked up the beach to his house and met Charlie’s parents. As we became better friends and our parents became acquainted, we spent a lot of time with Charlie surfing from his house.

Jeff Belzer offers instruction to Bryce
Jeff Belzer offers me instruction

Soon my brother and I became more advanced; we decided we needed new boards. We took a lesson with the local surf instructor, Jeff Belzer, and he suggested we head over to Robert’s, a local surfboard designer with the instructions to purchase longish boards for our skill and epoxy instead of fiberglass in order for them to handle the heavy abuse of living outside on the sailboat. We bought two boards: a 6 foot 4” and a 5 foot 10” board. Having got our new epoxy boards, we begged our dad to let us take them out that day. But however hard we tried, he said it was too late – probably tomorrow. The next day, we surfed on them without applying any wax because we didn’t know any better. I determined that I wasn’t fond of the 5 foot 10” board. When we bought it Robert said that if I didn’t like it, I could switch it with another one. So the following day we went back to the shop and asked to exchange the one board for another 6 foot 4” one like Trent’s. Robert said, “Look, I have one but it’s mine and it’s still in my car. I will make you this trade though.” So he went to his car and pulled out the board. He handed it to me and pointed out that written on the back of the board was “Thank you Lord for this board” and then his signature. We took it home and the next day showed our new boards to Charlie. We both loved our new surfboards!

Robert Weiner helping my dad select surfboards for me and Trent
Robert Weiner helping my dad select surfboards for me and Trent

Six or so months later, Trent decided to get himself a more advanced shorter fiberglass board so that he could duckdive under the bigger waves. He would have to purchase it completely himself this time though. We drove back to Robert’s shop and checked out the latest selection of boards. Charlie came along too and was looking at us like we were crazy for getting new boards, but I just think he was jealous that we got boards just as good as his in such a short time. As we checked the boards out, my brother spotted one he liked with a fancy flame design and determined the height and width would be perfect for him. One reason why he liked it was because it had spots for five fins and we always wanted to try out five fins. Before he found this new board, I wasn’t planning on getting a new board, but then I got a bit envious and decided I wanted a new one too. I scouted around the shop and picked one out that I liked for a reasonable price. It had everything I wanted except a paint design. That day we both returned back home to Kandu with new boards; mine was 5 foot 6” and my brother’s was 5 foot 7”. A week later, my dad and I started to prep the board for painting. I decided to paint a red, white and blue lightning bolt. We sanded it, taped it up, researched and bought the paint, painted it and then had to wait another day to add a lacquer type finish paint. The whole process felt like years of torture not being able to use my new board. When we finally finished it, my board looked beautiful. I called her “The Patriot.” We drove over to our friend Charlie’s house to surf and it was like floating on clouds. I absolutely loved it!

My own design, the "Patriot"
My own design, the “Patriot”

So now almost every time we can fit in a little surf time we do. On my family’s trip to sail around the world, the main thing that I’m looking forward to is surfing perfect, clean and clear barrels!!! Surfing is the sport I love and a sport I hope to always love. I look forward to surfing with people around the world! I hope I’ll find some fellow surfers around the world who love it as much as I do.

Trekking through jungle to "Burro's Beach" northern Banderas Bay, Mexico.
Trekking through jungle to “Burro’s Beach” northern Banderas Bay, Mexico.
Prepping to surf Burro's
Prepping to surf Burro’s

Bryce Rigney

4 thoughts on “When Can I Surf?”

  1. What a wonderful thing to have such a passion for the sport of surfing. Continue to challenge yourself, and take time to thank God for the beauty and opportunity. Also, you are so blessed to have such supportive parents. LUCKY BOY!!!!!

  2. So loved your apr 25 post. Happy surfing to you and Trent at all those amazing shores we love you all and miss you. God bless .Nani and papa.

    1. I will make sure to let Bryce and Trent know your comments about their writings. They will be pleased as they work hard on their prose. Love you, Leslie

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