05 July 2010

On Crowds, Surf Cams and Bad Attitudes

This morning, I finally pulled the trigger on a surf cam. In other words, I recognized that I could no longer live my life without having access to a cam. In the past, I've made do with the free cams, both through the County of L.A. and Surfline, and use of a friend's username and password for a different cam. The latter was working just fine for me. Just fine.

Alas, this last swell has seen an increase in the use of that cam under that friend's name. I think our entire crew has used this guy's access to the cam. And finally, it happened. A message began popping up advising that this cam had been accessed under that name way too many times from way too many computers.

With that, I decided my time had come. As cheap as I am, I could no longer act like I could live my surfing life without a cam. During the winter, I use the cam to watch the waves. I rarely look at the surf report that accompanies it. Those reports are virtually useless. All I want is to see the water. You can see swell direction, tide and everything else by just watching the water.

But it isn't winter, is it? It's summer now. The cam is more important than ever. In the summer, I don't need to see the water. I know when there's a swell. Everyone knows when there's a swell. In the summer, the need for the cam is not about the water. It's about all that's wrong with this picture:
When I see this, regardless of the swell, I know to look for surf elsewhere. In the summer, the cam is what tells me where not to go. And guess what? You won't see me here until September. My attitude in crowds is not what it used to be. My patience is not what it used to be. Therefore, I choose to surf away from the masses. That's hard to do in L.A. since June, even with all of its gloom, brings out the surfer in everyone. And let's face it, not everyone is a surfer. But I'd like to think I get that everyone needs some time in the water. They just don't need to spend that time in a great, big kooky bunch around me. So I look for the breaks with fewer people and smaller waves. See, it's like this. I don't believe you can surf in a crowd. When there are too many people in the water, your concentration is on not running into or over people. Your focus is on out-paddling the four other people on either side of you who are going for "your" wave. That's not surfing as we'd like to think we know it. That's surfing as contact sport. Some people get a kick out of that. I do not.

So, I've finally gone and paid for a surf cam. I guess the time had finally come.

10 Comments:

At 7/6/10, 10:57 AM, Anonymous Kristen said...

That's pic cracks me up :) Yeah, I'd say that is a good reason to purchase cam access!

-Kristen

 
At 7/6/10, 11:57 AM, Blogger Christian said...

Hooray for Malizoo!

 
At 7/6/10, 2:09 PM, Blogger pabs said...

Too bad SOCAL is not a lot like NORCAL...cold and sharky all the year...helps keep crowds to a minimum. Now if I can just catch some decent wind swept swell! :-)

 
At 7/6/10, 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you live in Los Angeles County? Just use watchthewater.org. It's not HD, but unless you're capturing the feed for a TV show, who cares.

 
At 7/6/10, 3:22 PM, Anonymous greengroovymom said...

Good on ya for not snaking someone else's password. The Swellmagnet guys are locals trying to provide a valuable service and aren't looking to gouge anyone ... now if they could just do something about the chronic bugginess ...

and the summer strategy is an excellent one -- they zig, I zag.

 
At 7/6/10, 3:30 PM, Blogger Surfsister said...

I do use Watch the Water, but it's only as good as a still photo can be. You need to see the water moving in order to get a good sense of what's going on.

 
At 7/6/10, 3:42 PM, Blogger Travel / Surf Guy said...

That pic is crazy busy Sis - I don't know how you do it!!! I get freaked out when I get more than 2 people around me and I tend to stay away from the "busy" spots. This can be quite easy in NZ as we've got over 15,000km of coastline but only 4 million people. We do get busy breaks in populated areas when there is a good swell running BUT this is the land of the "surf-roadtrip"

 
At 7/6/10, 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, I've been to SoCal in June. Way crowded. So now I go to Cape Hatteras in hurricane season. It is very uncrowded. Imagine 150 miles of Blacks. Last year I got in over my head (I'm 60+) and boy, was this Florida old man happy to see a couple of guys from New Jersey paddle out.

 
At 7/6/10, 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this photo upsets you you might want to check out the website thankyoufornotsurfing.com when it goes up next week. Cool site, tees for sale. Read the manifesto, add to the blog.

 
At 8/4/10, 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like an ant bed.

 

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