28 July 2008

38th Ave, 28 July 2008

Saturday and Sunday were quintessential California beach days, sunny and warm in Santa Cruz with only a hint of a breeze. In Capitola on Sunday, a sizable clump of wannabes waited for infrequent microwaves on their Softtops. With the tide pretty high, a group of kids were bodyboarding and even surfing the backwash from waves hitting the vertical base of the walkway, since that was creating bigger waves than the ones rolling in from the open ocean. It looked pretty cool, and fun if you only weighed 40 pounds. There wasn't much on offer for anyone bigger. S and I walked on the wharf where I petted a pelican - the feathers were surprisingly soft, like my long-haired cat's fur - and then I climbed a tree. Sometimes after a week of being all respectabiggle, it's nice to just act like a kid.

With such fine beach weather drawing the teaming masses, I didn't bother trying to surf on the weekend. Instead, I chose to do a cool misty Monday morning dawn patrol, and my patience was rewarded.

It's been a long time since I've done a real, leave-in-the-dark dawn patrol, but I wanted to get on it early this time before it crowded up. So I set my alarm for 4:30 am and was out of the house before 5:30. I do envy N being mere minutes from the surf, though not his commute to work . The sky had brightened by the time I passed Scott's Valley, and it was fully light when I parked at the Hook. By 6:50, I was in the lineup with only 5 other people, and for a time it dropped to only me plus 3 guys on longboards. One of them, an older dude with a French accent, told me that on Sunday there were 75 surfers chasing sets coming only every 45 minutes. Sooo glad I waited.

The waves were inconsistent and small, knee- to waist-high, but with little competition, I was able to catch my share. I lost count after about half a dozen. The first ride was the best, and I did some small turns with the fish, then got a few more short rides. Woo hoo! I'm started to get dialed in to the fish now, just need some more fun days like today.

When I got back to my car, I was amused to see an out-of-shape ugly guy buck-naked in the parking lot, changing in the open wing of his truck's door. This was maybe 10 feet from the window of a house adjacent to the parking lot. There was a fence in between and the way he was blocking with his truck, I don't think anyone could see the full frontal, but still. I remember reading about a town on the east coast that just passed a law prohibiting surfers from changing near the beach, and if they have a lot of people doing it the way this guy was, I can see why. Although in my 5 years of surfing, this is the first time I've seen anyone so au naturale. I'm not a prude, but I do think there should be a rule: no naked changing unless you have a nice body.

And now to the shower. My hair feels skanky and my skin smells like seaweed.

The Hook. Too many people out already, but I love this tree, still hanging on.

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