"Father knows best."
You've probably heard that line since you were a kid. But one thing is certain: it
doesn't apply to learning to surf…especially if you’re undertaking
this challenge with your 16-year-old daughter. And you're
My saga began about a year ago while vacationing in Hawaii with my
She dared me to take surfing lessons with her.
I did, and we both got hooked
- big time. Surfing was our common interest. It bridged the
But as we found out, surfing gentle waves in
the warm waters of Maui is a lot different than surfing San Diego beach
breaks in the winter. Together, we've endured wipe-outs, pearling, cuts and
bruises, not to mention the terror and torment of getting caught inside on a
big day. But the experiences drew us closer.
Out there in the water learning to surf, we
are "equals" -- I'm no better, smarter or wiser than she is. We've
shared our surfing fears, doubts and insecurities. We've kept each other
going when frustrations made us think about quitting. In one of my bouts
of frustration, she gave me a note that read: "You are
never a failure, until you refuse to get back up." It's something a parent normally tells their child. But here she was giving
me positive constructive support, and I was listening.
Surfing gave her the foundation and freedom to openly share with
me her thoughts, feelings and experiences. I've found myself doing the
same. But unlike other father-daughter experiences I hear about, Marisa
and I truly listen to each other. A deep bond has developed. The
barrier to communications -- which
is all too common between parents and their teenagers -- never
developed because of our interest in surfing.
For my daughter and me, surfing is the catalyst for a close,
enduring relationship that will last a lifetime.