28 February 2006

Random Thoughts About Yesterday's Session

How long have I been surfing? Long enough to know that when shortboard surfers are paddling back out, the thing they do to avoid waves that might break on their heads is a duck dive. Yesterday, I shared part of my session with a wayward duck. I'd never surfed near a duck before. I was completely astonished when, as a wave was about to break on her, she slipped under the wave and came out the other side. My first thought, "Hey! That's what surfers do!" Now how dumb a comment was that? That little voice in my head caught me before I could give further thought to the duck: "No shit, Sherlock. That's why it's called a 'DUCK' dive." Now I know why they call it that.

I'd never done a rainy session before. I loved it. What I didn't love was standing out on PCH trying to get and stay dry after the session. It was pouring by then . . . and there was nowhere to go. It's not like I've got a van into which I can climb to change clothes. As if that weren't enough, traffic on PCH was at a standstill. Not only did I have people staring at me as I shimmied into my wetsuit—and what woman doesn't love immature men leering and making stupid noises at her while she puts on her wetsuit?—before the session, but I was also stuck with people staring at me after the session as I flailed, trying to come up with a plan of attack for getting dressed. As if that weren't enough, my car was in the middle of a puddle. This made taking off the wetsuit even more difficult since I was not going to let my wetsuit fall into that muck. What normally takes me about 10 minutes when it's dry out (i.e., drying off and changing clothes without flashing the world) ended up taking me at least half an hour. Good times, good times.

I took a chance. I went to RPB and waited. For waves. I took a book with me (Jose Saramago's The Cave). I opened it once, read two sentences, and put the book back down. It was easier to listen to public radio and watch. For waves. See, a certain website showed that RPB's waves would be "4-6" on Monday. I wanted to believe them. I wanted to believe in them. Even though I'd seen someone catch a wave at Malibu on the free cam and had actually driven up there, I still wanted to believe RPB would show its stuff. Yeah, there were some waves at Malibu and there were only three people out. But I wasn't feeling it. It wasn't the beautiful 'Bu wave. I was also a little worried about the "Warning" sign on the beach. Was the water dirty already? Even before the rain? "Can't do it." I went back to RPB and sat. After an hour, I decided I was an idiot, that it was stupid to sit there looking at the water, longing for waves that weren't materializing. And yet, I stayed put. I wanted to believe. Finally, I promised myself that if nothing happened by 12:30, I'd leave. And there I was. Sitting. Watching. Waiting. Listening to 89.3 KPCC. Then I saw two people at The Point. But there wasn't much there. I don't surf The Point. I surf the bay. I wanted to see waves going all the way across, dammit. Again, I waited, expecting waves to gradually appear as the tides changed. I learned something yesterday: the waves come when they damn well please. It was as if someone had finally put quarters in the wave machine. In literally the blink of an eye, surfable waves began rolling through the bay. I was alone in the bay for I don't know how long. I shared with no one. There was nobody there! I surfed those nice waves all by myself. In Los Angeles!!!

I'm not prone to giddiness. I wasn't giddy when my child was born. (I think the word that best describes my reaction to that event was "terror". Cos I didn't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies!) I don't think I've ever been giddy. It's not an emotion I understand. But when I'd paddle back out, alone (alone!!!) in the bay, and watch the bombs roll toward me, I was giddy, smiling from ear to ear and laughing almost uncontrollably. If that's not a good description of someone who's giddy, I don't know what is.

Why did Wetsand say storm would bring "junky" surf? I surfed in (on?) glass for the majority of my session.

Well, I don't think it gets any better than that. I start the job next Monday and, like so many others, I'll now be a slave to my desk. (sigh) I've lived that life before. I can't say that I like it. But it's not about me anymore. At least yesterday's session gave me one last chance to be free.


At 2/28/06, 2:56 PM, Blogger gracefullee said...

Sounds wonderful!

Oh, and I had that revelation about the duck dive one day when I was at the Venice Pier (when the Venice Pier was still open). I was watching a duck bob up and down right below me. He was turned toward shore. I was the only one who saw the coming wave and I worried about the poor critter because he was right in the impact zone. What could I do? Part of me wanted to yell out, warn the duck! But that would have been futile. It was a DUCK.

Just as the wave started cresting, the duck darted quickly around and neatly slipped under the wave.

[lightbulb goes off in Grace's head]

At 2/28/06, 5:17 PM, Blogger Alan_M said...

Nice to have a miracle, isn't it?


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