I came up with this title because it looks probable, at least with the U.S. economy barely improving and the job situation seemingly worsening, that I will never make a surf trip. Ever. California and Hawaii share an ocean. They are separated by a plane ride of only a few hours. The plane ticket, while not exactly affordable, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Nevertheless, I will be surfing the beaches that are within driving distance of my home. While others talk about going to far away exotic locales in search of surf, I quietly go about the business of appreciating the surf that’s right in front of me . . . mainly because I have no choice but to do so.
This is not a post about gloom and doom. Woe is not me. One of the things I love about surfing is that the whole point of what we surfers do is to ride waves. No one ever said our goal was to ride the best waves or the biggest waves, the waves in the warmest water or the waves in the bluest ocean.
As Gerry Lopez once said, “Surf is where you find it.”
I am, apparently, a truly local surfer. In other words, I live in Southern California. I surf in Southern California exclusively. Thankfully, California is such a large state with such varied geography that making a day trip to spots like San Onofre and Rincon feels like one has gone on vacation.
Some years ago, one of my surf friends returned from a trip to Hawaii and was talking about the place for days after his return. I, as usual, asked him how it was and what it was like. At that point in my life, I still believed I was financially capable of making a surf trip happen. (As it turns out, I was mistaken.) I was a bit taken aback by his response. Most people talk of their surf expeditions in glowing terms, advising the listener to take a trip to the same place. What did my friend have to say to me when I mentioned my interest in going? “Don’t go. It will fuck with your head.”
He went on to explain that surfing in a tropical climate, with its warm water and beautiful scenery, had ruined him. When he returned to Los Angeles, he was not amused by the cold water and the less than perfect waves.
I’ve never forgotten his warning.
So, I keep it all in perspective. A wave is a wave is a wave is a wave. As long as there is something to surf, I’m happy. If I never manage to leave my little part of the world to surf, so be it. The fact that I can paddle out almost every day reminds me that I’m living a life that makes me happy. And I don’t need a surf trip for that.
Surfsister Mary Mills will be back at the same time next week.Rincon, San Onofre, Southern California surf