KarenPery.com | Chasing Gidget: The Beginning
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Chasing Gidget: The Beginning

Chasing Gidget is my old school new beginning in doing life differently. It’s a diary not a memoir.

Chasing Mavericks is a 2012 film that tells the story of Jay Moriarty’s determination to conquer one of Northern California’s beast waves, Mavericks. Gidget is a fictional character inspired by  a California teenager who discovers herself and learns to surf in 1950s Malibu.


I watched reruns of Gidget as a teenager, never dreaming I’d be riding the same waves in Malibu like she did with Moondoggie.

So yeah, I’m Chasing Gidget. I’m on a quest to become a Malibu surfer girl.

Learning to surf (especially at my age) is a lifelong passion, not a hobby. If it was a hobby I’d have quit by now. Progress is measured in tiny moments, the ones where I’m dancing with the ocean and not being totally humbled by it. The dance is pure joy. The humbling reminds me how small I am, and every day I go, I’m grateful to be able to go again.

I started writing about my own Endless Summer last year, then paused – both surfing and writing. Here’s where I started, we’ll catch up on the rest.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015.  I’m starting physical therapy tomorrow. My right shoulder makes a crunching sound when I lift my arms to put on a shirt or tie my bikini top, kind of like the sound an engine makes in an old truck that’s turning over but not quite catching, gears grinding. There is a nagging pain in my hip that was doing better after months of acupuncture, heat and laser treatments but I may have re-injured it on the carpet of my home office while working to build the muscle memory of my popup after learning it in Costa Rica.

I Googled physical therapy pilates surf for a location near my home from a hotel room in Hawaii a few weeks ago. I dislocated my shoulder in 2006 and didn’t really think I needed to rehab it … until the day after surfing the best water and best waves I’d ever experienced in this quest of mine, aching both to get back out there and physically limited with a horrible burning pain that activates when I tried to turn the steering wheel of my rental car. No arm lifting = no paddling = no surfing. Next week, I’ll see an orthopedist. It’s not that I wouldn’t have taken care of this shoulder eventually, but it’s urgent now for one reason: I love surfing and I want to do it as much as possible.


I share a lot about people doing life differently, following a new path, making life changes, etc., and when I write, I usually tell the story of something I’ve figured out already, not while it’s happening (happening is messy, people. You all know that already.) I love sharing the big aha! However, the downside of waiting for the big reveal: you miss out on sharing all the ups and downs, focusing on the highlights and skipping the details. As I grow older and wiser, I notice that I love and appreciate the little things as much as the big ones. Life is all the moments.

Every day is different, every wave is different, and when I’m in the ocean, I realize that my life, my problems, they are tiny in comparison to the sea. Surfing allows me to be a beginner, to fail fast and often, and to have moments of pure bliss. My delightful lack of experience happens to be one of the most amazing feelings of freedom I’ve ever known.

I talk about it a lot. I wish everyone could have something of their own to love the way I love surfing.

Here are the pieces of what I know so far …

Stay Stoked

#32 On my Bucket List: Learn to Surf(Coaches Training Institute Transforum Blog)

3 Things Surfing Will Teach You About Business (Ellen Ercolini)

Friday Interview: Karen Pery, Excellent Adventurer (Paige Bowers)

Leadership + Surfing article compilation on Flipboard

Work/Life Balance Makes Sense on a Surfboard  (Into the Fire Leadership)

Surfing Makes Life Better, Surfing Makes Better Leaders (Excellent Adventures)

8 Things I Found at the Beach Last Week (Excellent Adventures)

Preview: Into the Fire Surf Retreat (Excellent Adventures)



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