25 October 2008

A Saturday Respite

Come to San O on Saturday, they said. I looked for reasons why I couldn't go. I wanted to go, but I often feel like my responsibilities at home preclude and preempt my wish to leave L.A. to surf. I suppose I don't give my men enough credit these days. In the past, the bigger one and I have figuratively gone to war over my surfing. He appreciates that I do it. He's proud that I do it. He, for whatever reason, still doesn't like it . . . or should I say didn't like it. Today I got the green light to head down to San O with a couple of friends. It was even suggested that I could take the day if I wanted it. Unaccustomed as I am to such cooperation at home when it comes to my surfing habit, part of me wandered what was up. Why the change of heart? I pondered that question for about 10 minutes. Chewed on it actually. Then, I spit it out, thanked my spouse and went to San O.

Is it possible for a session to be great without being great? I think it is. For those of us from L.A. (and perhaps other places where the breaks are much too crowded for their own good), a day at San O is tantamount to a mini-vacation.

What set me off this week was a session at the infamous Beer Can Beach (as Christian calls it). I no longer have patience for the mayhem and foolishness that abounds at that place. I saw a friend there during the session. She got out before I did, but when I talked to her later, she commented about the guy who dropped in on me . . . and then went straight. Straight. At least when they drop in on you at Malibu, they find trim and head down the line in front of you. For some reason, when my friend mentioned this breach of surfing etiquette, it seemed to be the last straw for me. I'm now at the point where I'm going to start saying something to all of these people. I don't yell, so it's not like voices will be raised. But I'll be damned if I'll stand for much more of this ignorant behavior. When I surfed San O today, I noticed that when folks were paddling for waves, those of us inside of them did our best to move out of the way. At Beer Can Beach, you'll go to paddle for a wave and here are two guys sitting horizontally with their boards, thus taking up almost 20 feet of space. They either don't know or don't care to move out of the path of someone paddling for a wave. What the hell is that about? Or you'll paddle for a wave and someone on the inside will turn and start paddling for the same wave right in front of you. WTF? I saw none of this today. I'm sure it happens at San O at times. It happens all the time at BCB.

L.A. is simply crowded—on land and in the water. There's no getting away from the masses. San O, on the other hand, serves up space. I suppose those who've surfed there forever think it's way too crowded now. I wouldn't know. I appreciate the space, the generally good vibe in the water and the fact that you feel like you're out of the concrete jungle when you're there.

The waves were big (yay!) and mushy as hell (boo!). There were faces to work with. There was time to surf the wave and try some things. I'm always appreciative of that. Not one person dropped in on me. Not one! People were in good spirits and we played nicely with each other. Why is that such a useless proposition in L.A.?


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