#22 was a confusing item for people who thought I had never swum in either ocean before. This was another item that needed to happen for me to mentally check off that it was the greatest year of my life. I'm actually just realizing, in the moment of writing this post, that before this year I had actually only ever swum in the Pacific Ocean once before - when I was 20 in Puerto Vallarta, MX. So I guess this item was actually a bit rarer than I expected and shouldn't be associated with the inevitable like #41 Have a lobster dinner in Maine.
I didn't feel any pressure to try and plan this item. I knew I was going to be in LA at some point this year, and I'm an East Coast boy; I live in NYC, I spend a lot of my summers home in Maine, there would be plenty of opportunities to get my body in the Atlantic.
Part I: The Pacific
It all started with staying at my managers in Venice Beach. My manager, Ben, is like the epitome of cool. Originally from the East Coast but you would never guess it based on his west coast surfer vibe, there's no surprise why he ended up in an apartment 100 ft from the Venice Beach boardwalk. When I had gotten to LA a few days before in preparation for Coachella, we were discussing the potential opportunity of getting in the water and trying to have an epic time crossing off #20 Surf a Wave. Unfortunately, the days leading up to Coachella the water was just too harsh, and then two days after the weekend fun, the water conditions hadn't changed much.
Finally, April 18th, my last morning in California and three hours before I need to leave for LAX, Ben woke me up saying it was, "judgment day." The conditions were finally ok enough for a first timer to try. He promptly got on the phone and called up his buddy who had a wetsuit big enough for my 6'3 frame. I squeezed into the suit, grabbed my board and headed to the beach.
Ben brought me through some quick lessons while stationary on the beach, and I already knew #20 Surf a Wave was going to be more difficult than I thought. It was time to give it a go and Ben, and I ran into the water, surprisingly colder than I expected. I had a wetsuit on, but my exposed ankles were getting a full dose of this part of the Pacific and, me being used to the Maine Atlantic, was impressed. I expected warmer but being the manly man I am, it wasn't too bad. What I was more impressed by was surfing, and the mobility needed to get on the board let alone ride mother nature. Let's just say I have more respect than I've ever had before for surfers and what they're able to do on a board gliding on top of curling water. #20, I'm confident in saying, didn't have a chance that morning, but I will be returning to a surfboard and waves with a vengeance.
Not all was lost though as I was in, being consumed by, the Pacific and underwater a lot, which is sad given I was supposed to be riding on top. Either way, 50% of #22 was checked off.. #20 taking a rain check.
Part II: The Atlantic
A week after that Wednesday in the water in Venice Beach I was on a plane heading from JFK to Charleston for #46 Visit Jordan in Charleston, SC. I actually didn't even realize the opportunity I was going to get to fully cross off this item so soon after achieving the first half. My first night in Charleston we were discussing what we wanted to do and see over our week in South Carolina when Jordan said he wanted to take us to the beach on Saturday since he didn't have to work. Then I thought,
"Wait a second.... This is the East Coast, this coast is on the Atlantic, it's 80 degrees outside... how INTERESTING."
Saturday came, and we followed through with our plans to go to the beach and ended up at Sullivan's Island Beach. As I described in more depth in #46's blog post, it was just so beautiful outside, everything so picturesque - I couldn't believe this was South Carolina and why it ever took me so long to visit.
Knowing I wanted to cross off #22, especially because some of my best friends in the world were with me, I began making plans. Mike was getting there a little later after his work shift, so we'd wait for him. Jordan's girlfriend, Nicole, was with us, and if she didn't mind, she could man the camera. Then I was concerned with, given how windy it was if you'd be able to hear me say what the item was before we took our Usain Bolt strides into the water and here's how it all went:
Almost a flawless plan.
- Trevor? Check
- Jordan? Check
- Wait for Mike? Check
- Nicole manning camera? Check
- Intro with no wind? Check
- Pre bucket-list item high fives? CHECK
And then when push came to shove, when Usain strides were ready to be unleashed, when three best friends were there to help cross off their fourth best friends bucket-list item.. only one stepped up to the plate. I won't knock Mike and Jordo, they've just been in the warmth too long. But your Brooklyn boy, your Boston boy, and our eternal cold blood were more than ready for what was about to be endured... and at the end of it? Bathwater. That's right, it was incredibly warm. Without the obvious obligation to get a bay watch type shot running from accomplishing greatness, the boys would have gotten our rubber duckies and bath bombs and spent the afternoon in there.
Big shoutouts to manager Ben and best friend Trevor for accompanying me on this item. Also to manager Ash and Jordo's girlfriend Nicole for being rockstars behind the camera!