05 December 2007

Big (But Not Quite As Big as the 2005 Big) Wednesday

The home break . . . breaking . . . hard!Self-portrait on bike (heading for PCH).
Well-known L.A. break, which initially looked small to me.
Then, I saw them coming!!!
OUT - SIDE!!!!!
Scratching for the horizon!
Did I say yesterday that this break wasn't getting any of the swell?
Riding back after having seen some serious surf!
If any of you saw a black cyclist on PCH (with dreadlocks sticking out of the back of the red helmet) who kept pulling over to take pictures, that was me!

I figured I wouldn't go out today. I realized a few days ago that every surfer in L.A. would be taking Wednesday off. With beach breaks more than likely unsurfable (and they were), everyone would be crowded into the point breaks. Right again. I wanted no part of that, especially on a big day. By making the rounds to different breaks on my bike, I got to see many of my surf friends: Uncle Grant, Whiff, Jeffrey, Max from the Black Surfing Association, Al (who interviewed me for something that might be on TV), Jeremy, Nancy, Vanessa, Curt, Jonas, Kevin, Joey, Patti, John and all of the folks whose faces I know (and whose names I don't know). I did a lot of waving to and yelling at folks. For those of us who weren't getting wet, it was like being at a big party.

Why are surfers angst-ridden when they don't or can't paddle out on a big day? Two of my female buddies stood on the road above RPB trying to talk themselves into going out, using their best Norman Vincent Peale (look it up) teachings to justify an attempt. I, for one, now surf better than I ever have. I'm now more comfortable in the ocean than I've ever been. However, I don't over-estimate my abilities. So you make it to the outside. You're exhausted. Here comes a set. You're scratching to get over it. Now you're more exhausted. Here comes a wave you want. You and five other people paddle for it. You back off, only to see everyone else scratching for the horizon. You're now really exhausted and running out of whatever reserve you had and wondering how you're going to survive the pounding you're about to experience. Have you ever been in a similar situation? I have. It wasn't fun. I kind of figured this might be one of those days. Judging from the faces of people who got out of the water, it was (although I think many of them never made the paddle out).

As I always say, tomorrow is another day. I'm hoping the estimated two million surfers in L.A. all go back to work tomorrow. Then I can catch some of this swell too.


At 12/6/07, 1:20 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Bingo on that post.

At 12/6/07, 12:24 PM, Blogger gracefullee said...

I don't get why people are all angst-ridden if they can't get the really big days, either, but I was definitely itching to try to get out of work early if I could (which I couldn't). I wasn't sad to miss the crowds or the exhausting paddle-out. I was hoping that maybe I could catch something when it was less crowded and maybe a little less hairy!

At 12/6/07, 1:39 PM, Blogger Whiffleboy said...

This morning (Thurs), I was talking to a girl in the lineup at a particularly surly point break that I see at Venice all the time during dawn patrols. She asked where I paddled out Wednesday. I looked her square in the eye and said, "I didn't surf". "Why?" she asked. "I have no business being in DOH surf and I'm not ashamed to admit it," I replied.

We both agreed that we wished more folks would admit that to themselves [and others] and stay out to give those who can handle the big stuff a fucking break.

Today was great, though. :-)

At 12/6/07, 4:18 PM, Anonymous sb said...

Oh, thank you. This made me feel so much better about taking photos yesterday, surfing the uncrowded inside today. Bigger waves aren't worth all that much if there are 20 people paddling for them.

At 12/6/07, 6:16 PM, Blogger Bill said...

My big waves( tues ) had a line-up of people of which 1 was my son and 2 were my close surfing friends.
Ahhhhh how sweet it was ! !


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