What a truly beautiful day this was! I think I've found the surfing equivalent of Nirvana. Today's session at San O was glorious. I'd like to say I remember every wave and that I was ripping it up. What I remember was smiling and laughing more than I ever have while surfing. The locals treated me like a long lost friend. I felt loved!
We left L.A. much earlier this time. I decided I couldn't face those rocks or the blown out conditions again; we would have to leave earlier. That meant I had to work out a plan to have someone sit with my child in the morning and then deliver him to daycare. (Thanks, Mom!!!) We were on the road by 7 a.m. To our surprise, we were pulling into the San O lot before 8:30. As soon as we pulled in we found Puttzle (from the San O Daze blog). He's one of the lucky ones who can hit San O at daybreak and pretty much have the place to himself. By the time we got there, it was a bit crowded. As usual, that unnerved me. I don't get nervous when my break is crowded. I know that wave well. But at an unfamiliar break, crowds still get to me. Puttzle suggested we surf a little north of the crowd since there was a peak there. Well, by the time we got in, everyone else had moved over to that part of the beach. As usual, I couldn't figure out what I was doing. I seemed to paddle for, and miss, every wave that went by. I got so beside myself, especially since I was constantly looking at the back of my friend's head as she surfed away on some long wave. At some point, I caught a wave . . . and promptly fell off of it. $#$%! I spent a lot of time doing what I do best in a crowd: watching. Finally, I began to go for waves and got a few. None of those waves was noteworthy.
So, I'm sitting out there waiting and a local paddles by. He tells me to stop angling (which is what I'd been wondering about) since the waves didn't have much juice. He actually told me that I paddle well. That pleased me to no end. I remember when guys told me, in the past, that my paddling was wimpy so I've actually worked on paddling with the power I naturally possess (from lifting weights). Anyway, when he told me I paddle well, he made my day. Within seconds of him telling me to stop angling, I caught a wave—a good one. Then I was on a roll for the rest of the session. I only remember one wave. Like most of the waves there, it was a party wave, but somehow I had room to carve. I think it was the first time I've ever carved a whole wave. It was cool. I felt like I was in total control of the board. When I paddled back out, two people commented on how good a wave it was. It was a great day in the water! There's an amazing vibe at that place. (I know it's not there all the time or else the place would be too good to be true.) Everyone was having fun. I'd say 80% of the people in the water were constantly smiling. I guess that included me too. I think I talked to half of the people out there. It was one of those days when you do feel carefree and happy. It's rare that I get to feel that way. I think I have too much going on in my life now. But being out there for those three hours was such a nice break from L.A., work, bills, and a somewhat tense home life. Surfing in this crowd was downright civilized. It must be because everyone out there could surf. Some of us with surf blogs complain about the crowds at Sunset. After being at San O, I can see why we complain about Sunset. Sunset, on a crowded day, is complete and total anarchy. The surfers at San O, on the other hand, were quite orderly and awfully polite. At one point, I announced, "That's it!! I'm moving down here. You are the nicest people I've ever surfed with." The most exciting thing about today's session was seeing 79 year old Eve Fletcher out there surfing. I almost paddled up to her and said, "I want to be you when I grow up." She doesn't pop up. It looks like her days of popping up are over. She does everything from her knees. She paddles into the waves on her knees, and then she stands up. Then, she paddles back out on her knees. She made me see what possibilities the future can hold for us if we're lucky. One thing you immediately notice about her is that she has a beautiful aura. She looks like she's the happiest woman in the world; her smile is beatific. I could go on and on about today's session. I'll stop here. Oh!! I forgot to add this: I didn't drop my board! It was a perfect day in the water.