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Surfing the
Generation Gap

by Maurice Luque
Jamul, CA, USA

"Father knows best."  You've probably heard that line since you were a kid. But one thing is certain: itMarisa & Maurice get a lesson from Rusty Farrell doesn't apply to learning to surf…especially if you’re undertaking this challenge with your 16-year-old daughter. And you're 52-years-old!

My saga began about a year ago while vacationing in Hawaii with my daughter, Marisa.

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 "generation gap." 

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.

Marisa soup slidin'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.