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By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  June 19, 2010

The best parts of learning to surf, says Leigh Fisher, a 39-year-old who started surfing with Boutet's group this year, are "being in the ocean — not just any ocean, but a very cold Maine one — the serenity, the excitement of trying to learn and conquer the waves, and actually riding a huge one." Now, she's trying out boards in advance of buying one of her own.

Surfing isn't all a halcyon dream, however. After a few hours of paddling and sun-absorption, I made my way back up the beach and began to disrobe. Peeling off that wetsuit was without question the worst part of the day (if not of 2010). It stuck to the skin; I got sweatier and hotter as I writhed to remove it. But that horror was quickly eclipsed, as I drove home with the windows down and the saltwater in my hair, by the knowledge that I'd just experienced Maine in a completely new way. Thanks to surfing, my summer started early this year.

Learn about surf camps and lessons at aquaholicsurf.com. When not tumbling into the raging surf, Deirdre Fulton can be reached at dfulton@phx.com.

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