I learned to bodysurf by doing it, including a few near-drownings where I dropped over the falls, pushed under by the force of a wave so that I was in a dark, churning cauldron. My limbs and head were violently twisted in different directions from my body. I would see nothing but bubbles and, a few times, floating black dots from hypoxia, lack of oxygen. I’d surface just in time for a quick breath that was half salt foam before the next big wave in the set would hammer me back down again. Eventually I drown-proofed myself in 6-8 foot San Diego waves and got to enjoy some great adrenaline rushes along with the occasional scare and/or injury.
But enough about my feeble attempts to imitate a dolphin. Let’s talk about how Jack London introduced surfing to California.