nature, Ramblings, Relational

Surfing and Surf Culture

Although I am slightly embarrassed to admit it, I would by lying if I said that geographical proximity to the ocean didn’t play a role in our decision to move to LA.  I have always loved water, and after spending a summer living in Malibu, I couldn’t wait to get back near the Pacific.  After being here for 5 months, I finally bought a surfboard and a wetsuit.

Krissy’s sister has been in town since we got back from Wisconsin, and she really wanted to get out and try surfing.  We went camping last weekend and were going to combine it with a surf outing, but some stuff got in the way, so we decided to go surfing instead yesterday.  Being the local and the “expert” (i.e. I surfed like 10 times when I lived in Malibu two and a half years ago…), I wanted to find a place where we could go that was decent for beginners on a longer board, didn’t have a shallow/rocky break, and hopefully a place that would have some waves (but not too many).

Two things made it difficult to find a good spot:

dsc05287.JPGFirst, I knew a couple of possibilities up near Malibu, but wanted to check out something closer if possible, so I checked out Surfline and Wanna Surf to see if I could find a decent spot.  Apparently, winter is kind of sketch time to surf a lot of places in LA, especially after a big storm (and we’ve had a bit of rain in the last week), because the city dumps waste right into the ocean.  Surfline rates each surf spot for cleanliness on a scale of 1-10, and a lot of places in LA can get up a little too close to 10 for my taste.  Some of the spots, such as El Porto, have been nicknamed “El Puko” because of people getting sick after spending time in the water. 

Second, after spending some time looking online at the above websites and their forums, it became obvious that surfers can be territorial and intimidating.  A lot of them don’t want beginners (“kooks“) at their spots or stealing their waves.  It gets so ridiculous that you can never tell if someone who says a particular spot isn’t good for surfing, or if they just don’t want you (me) to come and crowd their favorite surf spot. 

So, after looking at about a dozen spots online, I decided that I didn’t want to risk getting sick or surfing in gross water, or irritating local surfers and getting chased back to Pasadena.  Instead of trying a new spot, we went back up north of Malibu to try our hand surfing at County Line.  I had looked at the surf report for Malibu and County Line, and had warned Nikki that there might not be any waves…and there weren’t. 

dsc05281.JPGI had never seen the ocean and glassy and beautiful as it was on Monday.  Flat as can be, with a bit of a wind blowing from shore.  Thankfully, the weather was absolutely gorgeous: bright sun, no clouds, warm weather.  We decided to jump in the water and play around on my board anyways, and had a blast.  There were definitely some people watching us with binoculars, probably wondering why two people in wetsuits were in the water with one board on a day where there no waves. 

But…we had a blast….saw about 6 dolphins ten feet away from us, and were chased into shore by a rabid-looking seal.  Good times…California is beautiful.

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