This is the first summer I've really experienced the influx of tourists to San Diego. While a year ago I was still working the 8-4:30, squeezing in dawn patrols when I could, now that I can surf any time of the day I really see the population bump due to summer visitors. And I don't like it. Yesterday morning I waited until the negative low tide at dawn had risen to a more respectable, less closed-out level, but then found a pack of surfers clotting up my home break at the Crystal Pier. Eh, it was still walling up there anyway, so I rode my bike on farther north.
I locked my bike to the fence at Law Street (will they ever finish reconstructing the bathrooms?!) and walked north on the beach past a gaggle of surf school kids practicing pop-ups on the sand, paddling out before I got to the usual mob near Tourmaline. The waves were decidedly meh, and after a time I left the small pack at that spot to paddle south past a clot of rash-guarded surf-schoolers. I'd been scamming closeouts and stooping so low as to ride already broken waves, just to get to my feet on something, but there I found a steep head-high drop into a quick closeout that was more legitimate.
Alas, the lifeguards raised a flag demarking "swimming" from "surfing" so I had to paddle back north again. And on the inside, more surf schoolers, a whole big mob of them, so I kept moving. Ooo, but there's a wave, forming up and I'm a bit deep but well enough in position - so I caught it, threading the needle between two deer-in-the-headlights kooks. As I turned to head back out, their instructor smiled and said, "Nice wave!" Eh, didn't seem that great to me, but thanks, dude.
Back outside, I got to chatting with a woman on a shortboard, who marveled at all the waves I'd been catching. To me, they seemed pretty marginal - closeouts, or already broken, except the one. She was getting skunked on a 6'0" and lamented that perhaps she needed a longer board, exclaiming, "How can you stand up on that thing!" when I told her I was riding a 5'4". It's interesting to hear the perspective of others, kind of uplifting, in a sense, when I didn't think I was surfing all that well (per my own, perhaps overly harsh, standards).
|Hannah and Dannie of Kelly Says Surf|
*11x world champion and full-blown legend Kelly Slater says you have to surf all kinds of waves (including the crappy ones) to improve.