Finally, finally, finally—a session I could smile about (or, if you're one to criticize the dangling preposition, a session about which I could smile). The pictures are from RPB. I got there early, knowing the low tide at mid-morning would be a negative one. I also knew there would be a crowd. Gone are the days when I surfed during the week and thought 10 people in the water was a crowd. What I saw today was a crowd. I overheard someone today comparing the crowd to the 405 at rush hour. At one point, I turned around to paddle for a wave only to find that my path was blocked by at least three people. I could have done the Malibu thing and mowed them all down, but that's not my style. I opted to stop paddling and watch that wave go by without me. Since this is not Pulp Fiction (a movie I loved but couldn't quite keep track of—notice the second dangling preposition), I'll go back to the beginning.
Okay, this session was destined to be a good one before I even finished paddling out. A wave came to me before I'd made it all the way out to the lineup. Even though I was tired, I turned around and paddled for it . . . and got it. I knew then that I would finally be writing about something enjoyable. My surfing karma is such that catching the first wave I paddle for always means good things and bodes well for how I'll handle myself during the rest of the session. I don't keep a mental count of waves. My short-term memory isn't good enough for that. What I do remember is on several occasions, the waves that started out with three or four of us and ended with one person making the sections all the way through to the shore. And that person was me. I don't know what I was doing right, but I liked it. I'd look to the left, see the wave start to closeout behind me, and watch the person behind me fall off. Then I'd turn right, see the wave start to closeout in front of me, somehow race past that only to find that the person in front of me had fallen off too, and I'd be on my own. This is what I needed, especially on a day when there were so many people in the water. I'm not a wave hog. I don't yell or do the stink-eye thing. I usually smile and sit with my hands in my armpits, quietly watching the horizon for the next set. I think it was my turn for some decent waves. I knew the waves were going to be decent today. I even thought about making a run to Malibu. Then I looked at the cam and thought better of it. I swear there were at least 25 people in the water at 6:30 a.m. Today was not a day to deal with the yelling, jostling, and paddle battles. Today was a day for good waves and a mellow vibe. That's the reason why experienced surfers go to RPB even though people like to say it's a spot for beginners. RPB is a decent break with a wave that's ripe for the picking if you just paddle around the beginners. It's also a place where you can spread aloha by giving encouragement (and I've done my share of that) and giving up waves to those who just need someone to talk them through it. People did it for me . . . and still do, especially when I get too far inside my head and can't get focused. Now it's my turn to pay it forward.
Dick Move of the Day Award: How many times have I said that when you park on PCH—or some equally busy street that runs next to a break—you should give the cars in front of you and behind you some room? How many times have I said that? Well, obviously my message is not being heard. When I got out of the water today, I noticed two people sitting on a car that was parked a few cars ahead of me. I wondered why they were just sitting there. I mean, the sets were still rolling through. Then I noticed that the bumper of the car in front of them was only about half an inch from their bumper. As I walked a little further, I saw that the bumper of the car behind them was also about half an inch from their bumper. In other words, they couldn't get out. These assholes had pinned them in. I don't care how much the place is firing, you don't do that to your fellow surfers (or anyone else for that matter). Enough said?