Greetings From: Encinitas, CA

Miranda Boyink finally catches a wave during surfing lessons at San Elijo State Park in Encinitas, California.

by Michael Boyink /

We were from Michigan.

Not surfers, really.

People surf in Michigan, but it’s not popular.

When we decided to travel full-time, we put together a list of things we wanted to do. Ride horses. See the Grand Canyon. Swim with manatees.

And take surf lessons.

In California.

I blame the Beach Boys.

Our instructor teaches us proper foot placement and position on the board.

We booked lessons at a surf school 45 minutes north of San Diego. 

There were four of us. And four stories emerged that day.

Harrison was a natural, popping up successfully on his first wave. He promptly declared himself “a southern Californian by heart.”

It took me a time or two, but years of snowboarding in Michigan helped me find the right balance.

Surfing was a challenge for Miranda. Wave after wave, launch after launch, she’d try to stand up on the moving surf board, only to lose balance and tumble into the foam.

She’d swim in, gather up her board, and paddle back out. Our instructor would patiently find a good wave, line her up, and push her off just in front of it.


Heading out into the waves at San Elijo State Park in Encinitas, California.

nd again, she’d fall off while trying to stand up.

I could tell her strength was beginning to flag.

Then finally, mercifully, everything went right. The instructor pushed her off. She transitioned from her belly to one knee. Then stood up on both feet.

And stayed on.

She whooped in victory, arms over her head, thumbs pointed up. Then her face resolved into a beaming smile and she put her arms out for balance. And stood up all the way in.

Miranda was tenacious in the face of adversity, and overcame it.

Which brings us to MsBoyink.

For her, surfing is the bucketlist item she had to let go.

She initially passed on lessons, feeling she didn’t have enough core strength. Instead, she grabbed the camera and took the photos you see here.

It was her birthday that day. Her 50th was a few years off. Seeing the fun we all had, she vowed that she would be in shape to surf by then. 

Life happened. Our travels went elsewhere. “Surfing by 50” became “surfing someday”. 

Then we got off the road. Thoughts of surfing in California disappeared into learning a new job, refurbishing a house, and integrating into a new community.

And that’s OK. Every once in a while we need reminding that our plans are not always God’s plans.

And you never know.

60 isn’t too old to take up surfing either.

The Eli Howard Surf School has been teaching people to surf in Encinitas, CA since 1999. Learn more at