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If I had a dollar for every time I’ve met an adult between the ages of 25 and 60 who tell me they’d love to learn to surf, well, I’d have dozens of dollars. They’ll sidle up next to me while I’m pulling on a wetsuit outside my car and tell me they’ve always wanted to try it, but there are sharks, or the water is too cold. I’ll bump into an old friend who asks me if I still surf, then express admiration for sticking with it well into adulthood. My wife will introduce me at a cocktail party (she has a fancy job) and over the conversation, my new friends will learn I was a surf mag editor for years and they’ll divulge their lifelong wanting to surf, but their equally lifelong lack of actually doing so.

Same goes with fly fishing. There is a cement-bottomed pool near my San Francisco home that caters to fly fishing practice. It’s an idyllic setup in Golden Gate Park, nestled in thick, tall pines, with a log cabin housing an angling club overlooking the pools. I’ll be out there practicing my loops and somebody walking their dog will stop, ask if there are fish in the pools (sometimes, but there aren’t supposed to be—it’s a long story), and say they’ve always wanted to learn, maybe took lessons in Montana once, but didn’t stick it out.

Myself—I never learned to downhill ski. Or snowboard. Look, I didn’t grow up in an outdoorsy family. I taught myself to surf as a kid after I moved to the beach, but I didn’t actually see snow up close until I was 20 years old or so. Really. By then, I was so surf-obsessed, I had no time for silly things like not surfing. Winter meant good waves; the mountains were for summer pursuits. Nowadays, I truly adore cross country skiing and get after it each winter. That was easy to learn and didn’t threaten busted patellas and shredded tendons if I made a mistake. Plus, it’s great transportation to awesome backcountry winter huts. But fat skis? A snowboard? Gulp. Maybe someday.

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What about you? What do you read about, see videos of, or overhear practitioners comparing notes about and think: shoot, I wish I could do that? For me, it’s skiing. Or snowboarding. That indecision is probably part of the problem, actually. But sailing looks dreamy. So does whitewater kayaking. Let’s hear it in the poll and let us know in the comments below. Heck, maybe this is just the motivation some of us need to actually do the dang thing.

 


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