21 June 2014

Surf, Skate, Swim

San Diego hasn't seen much swell lately, so I've been surfing the concrete waves of the Ocean Beach skate park more than usual, followed by a swim at my new pool in Point Loma.* Gliding up and down the face of the long bowly section at the back of the park, and practicing cutbacks on some of the tighter curves, has been getting me more stoked than seconds-long rides on the gutless little waves currently on offer.
Joel Tudor
Alas, there can be too much of a good thing, and it seems I overdid it with too many skate sessions in a row. Since Tuesday, the Achilles tendon on my pushing leg has been sore. I've been resting, icing, rolling, and KT-taping it, all in hopes that by Sunday it will be right as rain. That's when I start another 4-pack of skate lessons with Andrew of SD Skate Life. This time I've cajoled a couple of San Diego Surf Ladies into joining me.

While initially I started skateboarding on the recommendation of my surf coach, Barry - and was rubbish at it for a long time, until I took lessons with Andrew last year - now that I'm carving a bit, I really like it. Shockingly, in some ways I enjoy it even more than surfing. There's a real benefit, an extra satisfaction in the accomplishment, from being able to practice the same maneuver over and over till you get it right, without waiting for an empty wave. And in my experience, skateboarders are more friendly than surfers. I go in the morning before the park clogs up so there's plenty of room for me and the other few guys - almost always just guys or boys - who get up a little early. Mostly we stay out of each other's way, but after any near-collision, you hear apologies and "Are you OK?" instead of the more typical scowls and sometimes shouting that follows on the water. A couple of the guys have offered me helpful tips and encouragement. One regular, Nick, always greets me with a fist bump and a smile. The sense of community and camaraderie is refreshing.

Skateboarding began as a way to improve my surfing (and I just wrote an article for Mpora called How Skateboarding Can Make You a Better Surfer), but now I'm doing it for its own sake. I want to learn the basic, purely skate tricks, from dropping in to ollies, and get better at tic-tac-ing. And since Skater Girl told me "Nothing quite so freeing as catching some huge air on the halfpipe either. For a few moments you are flying," I must say that one day, when I'm good enough, I hope to fly as well.

*The extended closure of the Plunge in Mission Beach - now the entire Wavehouse Athletic Club is about to be shuttered until sometime next year - forced me to find another more permanent place to swim, and the YMCA is minutes from the skate park. So natch.

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