16 March 2014


Ashley and I set up a San Diego Surf Ladies Team Carnage session for Blacks mid-morning, but there were no other takers. (I think perhaps the team name scares them off.) Which was fine, because it was good to surf with just Ashley and her friend Todd.
We walked down from the Torrey Pines gliderport on a steep, sometimes stair-stepped dirt trail that was new to me since I've always hiked in farther south along the private road. The north end of Blacks beach is clothing optional, and when we reached the sand, sure enough, between us and the waves was a chubby guy letting it all hang out.

Todd was the best shortboarder of the three of us, easily reaching the outside while Ashley and I struggled through walls of punchy whitewater. When we attained the lineup - empty but for Todd - of course there followed a noticeable lull in the waves. Ashley shared stories of her El Salvador surf trip with Fulcrum Surf. She's a goofyfoot too, and sought out lesser lefts in that land of renowned rights. One of the Spanish words she brought back was "cerrado" - closed - and many of today's waves were, especially as the tide dropped.
My performance continues to disappoint, as I scored only half a wave, a head-high right. Todd saw me and said I'd been in exactly the right spot, and just needed to weight my front foot to set my rail and speed along the face. Instead, I fell off the back. Lately, I've been feeling like I suck at surfing - I used to be better, I used to charge. Somehow, over the long small-surf summer and fall, through my doctor-induced back reinjury and general lack of fitness also due to laziness, I lost faith in my abilities and the fear of bigger waves crept back in. I hesitate when I should commit, back off instead of going for it, and fall more than I ride. Ashley said she's also struggled with commitment issues. "Sometimes just have to go for it, eat shit, and then realize you're ok, to get past it." Good advice.

The temperature had climbed to 80 degrees by the time we started our hike back along the beach and up the steep trail. Nude men - except for their hats - were everywhere admist more typical clothed beachgoers. Todd was surprised to see a couple of rare naked women. One brave (or foolish) nude dude was paddling out for a surf. I stopped a few times on the way up, partly to rest and partly to see him on a wave, but he didn't catch any.

The swell is coming up and will be overhead tomorrow. I need to get out of my head and just surf.

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