On Sunday, I found myself sitting on the beach. Reading. No surfboard next to me. A weird combination of factors and events contributed to this unfamiliar scenario. Read on.
numberONE: The water temperature was freakishly low:
“Holy fuck! The water is freezing today!” — Actual text message.
I believe 55 degrees is a confirmed figure.
numberTWO: “Now once upon a time not too long ago,” I hid out at Strands for an entire day (after strong-arming a hoe) and enjoyed the departure of June gloom. Yes, it’s August. Anyway, I spent the day surfing some fun ant hills. On my first wave, my ancient leash snapped. I took the opportunity to teach myself what everyone from California and Hawaii seems to know: how to surf without one. In other words, properly. With “situational awareness.”
numberTHREE: Within a few days, I was actually feeling comfortable without a leash. I was also feeling disgruntled the following Tuesday afternoon and all I wanted to do was surf–despite the fact that the waves were miniscule. I headed to Creek, which I thought might be better than the Pier (SC), which wasn’t even breaking. Creek was the least crowded I had seen it all summer. So there were about 6 guys in the water. The only rideable waves were to the south, by the rocky point that I usually avoid… you see where this is going, do you?
I battled with some little kids for knee-high waves, which baffled me. I mean, really? I usually avoid running kids over, even if they completely deserve it. Twenty minutes in, however, I was wave-starved and had just decided to stop giving them away when I looked down and realized there was a gigantic rock to my right. And also to my left. Funny how those were underwater a moment ago. I like to think it was unavoidable. I ran aground, flew off my board, willed myself not to smack my face on one of those rocks… my leashless board pulled some crazy submarine trick where it vanished (clever) and then appeared on the beach. It now looks like this:
I admit that chasm doesn’t look completely out of place in the yellowed foam, but still, my new board isn’t finished yet.
numberFOUR: Acceptance. The weirdest part of all this is that it kind of made me feel better–even after only surfing 20 minutes, even after a boulder deflowered my board, and even after my wrecked fiberglass scraped up my side. That’s actually the first legitimate damage I’ve done to that board in about 10 years. Maybe I was just pleased with myself for going for it. I don’t know, but for the moment, I will bear with sitting in the warm (if somewhat grimy) San Clemente sand. And relentlessly harassing my shaper, of course.