2022 has reared its psychotic head to the tune of minimal swell and maximum stress, which is why there’s been a real gap in blog posts (sorry). Grad school, day job and relationships have amounted atop my back and relentlessly beat it, gorilla status, into a pulp. I write for up to 14 hours a day sometimes…research literature reviews on women in generational leadership and startups pivoting, science-y technologies that make my neurons cross and more.
I think I need glasses.
Decent swell has left many a-SoCal surfers chomping at the bit, relentlessly waiting for those cold-water peaks to don the horizons of their local and not-so-local (read: Trestles) breaks. Sending me into full-blow cray cray mode, I sought opportunities to catch up on my thousands of other hobbies to give that gorilla a shift break from its task-beating duties.
But this feels good.
Maybe not like the warm rush of a solid, 73-degree water temp wave cycling under my feet, pulling my now hippie-status hair back against my bikini, but this right here. Feels. Gud.
Though disappointment—she hit me good this season, I gave it some more thought about where this word comes from.
*Puts grad student hat on*
Oxford Dictionary defines “Disappointment” first as a sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.
Synonyms may include: disenchantment, disillusioned, frustrated, unfulfilled
“Expectation” … let’s marinate on that. I’m talking cabernet, salt and pepper and New York strip steak status. Or garlic salt, bay leaf and black beans, for all your vegans out there.
What sets us up for this grave feeling of disappointment is that very word—expectation.
I do think it’s important to have certain expectations…but what about surfing?
Regardless of conditions—flat or firing—what are your expectations when you want to surf?
I expect you to not dodge this barrel.
When it’s firing, do you strongly believe that you will score loads of waves amid the crowds of wave-hungry folk?
I mean, I’m sure you can and do! Especially if you beat your chest like a gorilla at Trestles. I’m guilty of that, just ask some folks at Cottons. :-o
But is that the ‘tude you want to carry? And will smiling and being friendly necessarily get you waves? I know it usually does for ladies, most of the time. But for guys, not so…
On more approps and accurate conditions from 2022 so far—when it’s flat, or semi-flat, what is your expectation?
I’m not saying “abandon all hope ye who enter here” status. I’m saying marinate on the concept of expecting versus accepting.
This cheesy, but true statement has been plastered all over the Pinterest-sphere and modern farmhouse driftwood décor since 2010:
You churn your own butter for that cheese? Accept this cheesy saying.
Accept that the waves will probably suck, let go of that last fleeting epic swell where you scored a stand-up barrel, and have faith that those barrels will be back to slot you or own you. 😉
Expectations deserve some marinade…New York strip steak, guys, NY strip steak….
https://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/DP-sandbar-waves-scaled.jpg19202560confessionsofasurfergirlhttps://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/confessions-logo2.pngconfessionsofasurfergirl2022-02-22 14:50:022022-02-22 15:18:14I Expected Too Much from You, 2022
If in case you can’t already tell–I’m pretty heated about what’s oozing down the coast from Huntington Beach. Unless you’ve been living under a rock that’s hopefully not a glob of tar, there’s been a giant oil spill, one of the largest in Southern California in decades, that has recently hit the shores of not only HB, but is now making it’s gross, oily and destructive way down the coast. Many thanks goes out to those cleanup crews working hard to remove this shit from our environment and help the animals and plants who are suffering.
To volunteer to help in the cleanup, text ‘oilspill’ to 51555
More details to come from this infuriated surfer girl.
If in case you got some tar stuck to your extremities or hair, here’s a helpful tip on how to remove it without removing your skin:
https://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/IMG_6299-scaled.jpg19202560confessionsofasurfergirlhttps://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/confessions-logo2.pngconfessionsofasurfergirl2021-10-06 18:18:242022-02-22 14:50:36How to Remove Tar Off Your Body (and Eff Big Oil!)
For the entire human existence, innovations have play a major role in helping us progress and create a world designed to cater to our every whim, take us to places we’ve never been and try things that were otherwise not possible. Yes, humans are a special bunch of neurons that, when firing, can produce groundbreaking stuff. I mean—I really like the fact that someone invented a light bulb and a hot water system so I can take a nice hot shower after a good surf.
Virtual Insanity was what we thought we were living in, until these slid into reality.
And then there are some inventions where I just ask ‘why’ over and over again.
Maybe you can help answer my question. DM me to explain.
1. Soap Shoes
Okay, I get grinding rails with a skate, yes. But, are you planning on shooting a Jamiroquai music video? Add a giant fuzzy top hat and a sterile-looking room for some “virtual insanity” and–to the ‘90’s with you! And I love the ‘90’s, but this might take it a step too far. Pun is TOTALLY intended.
2. Roller Suit
We DO see you rollin’…and yah, maybe we hate it? You will be riding dirty in these suits, assuming dirty for you means looking like the Power Rangers (another 90’s reference FTW!). Can I be
… so, are you Dragonzord or Pterodactyl?
the yellow ranger?? These suits weigh nearly 38 pounds and cost just shy of $4,000. Unless you like reverse-bobsledding or are shooting an action-packed film, I don’t understand the purpose other than maybe trying to turn yourself into a human hamburger because where do you go with these?? I sure hope there are special tracks you take these things to…b/c I don’t see this happening in Cali, especially during rush hour.
3. Electric Wetsuit
OK. I couldn’t find a picture for this one…that’s because those guys at Rip Curl made it a point to erase electric wetties from Google history. But! We haven’t forgotten. I will never forget seeing those one-page ads in Surfer Mag (R.I.P.!) about electric wetsuits and my first thought was: “hey cool! But isn’t that pretty dangerous??” C’mon guys—electricity & water DO NOT mix, unless you’ve had it with this cold, cruel world. I mean, to die surfing, according to Johnny Utah & Bodhi, is the way to go for surfers, right? Sure, maybe when I’m 80-something gently cruising a nice log in 78 degree water…Just not quite sure I’d like to fry my insides…unless I was inside of a barrel? I’m saving the electricity for my post-surf smoothies & the dance floor. (See: Duran Duran)
… just don’t put me near a lion, k?
4. Surf Skis
Just. Go. To. The. Mountains. Sorry, Chuck Patterson, no offense.
5. Shark-Proof Wettie & Board Sticker
I get dizzy looking at this picture. There was never any scientific evidence that proves this actually works. I mean, are you willing to wrap yourself and your board up in that zebra-looking garb and paddle out to the Red Triangle? Because those are the sharks I’m always most nervous about. If these wetties are proven to propel the reef sharks, cool! They don’t do much to humans, anyway. But unless they are deterring those top sharky predators (see: Great White, Tiger, Bull), I’m not trying to look like a land snack for a Lion.
Kook spotted, kook assessed, proceeding to drop in on kook.
6. Turbo Tunnel Fin
For you, maybe it helps with…drag? Noserides? Sure. I don’t understand how this could provide better rides. For me, it’s the fashion victim of the surf world. Turbo Tunnel Fins are not hot. They’re not hot right now.
I’m not sure how I missed this one–credit goes to Dave Campbell for the recommend on Insta! The inline skate uses trucks similar to what you find on the bottom of a shopping cart (caster) and combines it with wheels similar to rollerblades. After the first or second go-round, you’re over it. Trust me.
Hey, there’s rides of all kinds out there! But I had to poke fun at some of these here. Maybe you actually do enjoy these contraptions and good on ya! Far be it from me to tell you how to get your stoke. I just might not be letting you make the wave calls. :D
https://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/IMG_5050.jpg604453confessionsofasurfergirlhttps://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/confessions-logo2.pngconfessionsofasurfergirl2021-07-06 06:30:022022-02-22 14:55:097 Action Sports Inventions That Make me Ask ‘Why’
Not every trip is full of sparkly images of you living your best life. Flights get canceled, surf or snow doesn’t show up, we mistime, we plan too far ahead or not enough, oh and this pandemic thing…we fuck up, we make mistakes and rarely do we admit it publicly…and we should more often because our lessons might help others.
What normally I reveled in for the past several years (camping, nature, snowboarding, etc.) became a trip full of “damn why didn’t I think of thats!” In case you haven’t noticed, for the past couple of years, I’ve been camping at Zion National Park and have been soaking up the challenge of conquering my fear of heights by hiking Angel’s Landing and recently made it a point to stop by Brian Head for a snowboarding session.
I think in between the recent death of someone falling off of Angel’s Landing on the same day and getting bad dizzy spells while hiking Angel’s Landing for my third time, I began to realize…I need to calm down. :D
But don’t worry—I’m not going to quit adventuring, I think this is one of those trips where there are lessons learned as opposed to goals achieved. I’m confessing my mistakes so you don’t do the same things I did:
Quite literally-NOT a happy camper.
1.Sleep is essential. Get some at all cost!! I am the world’s lightest sleeper. A pin drop would wake me up. So when 40 mph winds came tunneling through the canyon, shaking and jostling my tent All. Night. Long, every night… I had a hard time with everything I did. It didn’t help that I forgot a pillow, so I bundled up my puffiest gear, but guys—a zipper or button on the face all night long doesn’t exactly feel or look grand the next day. Not mention my neck was tweaked all six ways of something special. The next day, I woke up and rode my bike 6 miles up hill to the Angel’s Landing trailhead and on other days, went hiking and driving to Kolob Canyon and drove for 1 1/2 hour to snowboard. I can say-because of lack of sleep, my motivation and patience was at an all time low, like I had never seen before. Not a good feeling to have.
If you look close enough, you can see a kitchen sink.
2. Check your gear. The normally free Zion shuttle was charging $1 for rides and you have to book in advanced to get a ticket. Each day was completely booked and full, but I will add that you can find tickets at the last minute, but my phone didn’t have a great signal, so I brought my bike.
I didn’t know until I was about a mile biking into the canyon on the Pa’rus, but my tires were flat and I was beginning to wonder why I felt so out of shape. Fortunately, I met this nice couple on the trail & they kindly filled up my tires and, already winded, I was on my way a lot faster. It really is a beautiful ride, I highly recommend, but make sure to bring proper gear, like a bike pump.
3. Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. Sometimes when it’s colder, we might forget to drink water, but it’s imperative to do so, especially if you plan to do a strenuous bike/hike and it’s a desert climate. I was so focused on getting to the trailhead, I also forgot to drink water.
It was late in the day when I finished my 6-mile bike ride & started at the trail (around 11:00 am) and there were a crapton of people. No sleep combined with minimal water and beautiful nature distractions and my literal insatiable determination had me sending one foot in front of the other up the trail. I wanted to get to the top of Angel’s Landing around 1:30 so I could eat something. Why didn’t I eat something before hiking? The crowds + stupid COVID were making me nervous, so my mind was focused on completing the trail and catching the views…and eating my tasty sandwich at the peak, of course.
Don’t drink the water! The beautiful Virgin River ain’t too pure, lots of signs everywhere warning you why.
By the time I got to the beginning of Angel’s Landing (the last quarter mile of the West Rim Trail), I heard that someone had fallen off that morning and died and they just reopened the trail. I still went for it. Fuck it. I thought. I think my mentality wasn’t all there because I was pissed off at the world for the unimaginable crowds, the pandemic and the poor person who fell off that morning. Fuck it fuck it fuck it. I’m going.
Mindlessly, I proceeded down the spine and clasped the chains. Not shortly into my climb, I slipped and went a-sliding and made a family totally panic. (Sorry, guys) and still thought -fuck it. I continued to go forth, my nerves making me forget to drink water. Even though my stare was mostly straight forward, I still got dizzy with head rushes. By the last couple hundred yards before the official peak, I got so dizzy, I had to sit down. And yea, I was in between hyperventilating and tears when this lovely gal from LA who was climbing behind me, immediately came to my rescue. She sat with me and gave me some electrolyte powder, which I straight shotgunned into my throat and immediately felt like I was foaming at the mouth. Her and her group adopted me and I was so thankful they did. So, nice folks in LA DO exist. :) Before my 6-mile bike ride back to camp, we all shared some margaritas and stories, hydration be damned.
Rocks stand high in the sky, you know how I feel…
4. Eat real FOOD. Maybe I haven’t gotten this camping thing down 100 percent, but I brought dehydrated meals to save on space and to get what I thought was adequate protein. I also brought fresh fruit and snacks for daaaays and plenty of protein bars. After day 2 of dehydrated meals for dinner as well as snacks, sandwiches and fruit, my body wasn’t having it anymore. I couldn’t make myself eat any of my stuff, honestly because all I could think about were eggs, hash browns, bacon and toast with tea or coffee. As I left Zion, I got exactly that at Oscar’s Cafe in Springdale and I could feel my body doing a little happy dance in between bites.
Don’t ask how I mustered that smile. All along the Watchman Trail.
5. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. With closures far and wide and the confines of stay-at-home orders, businesses biting the dust and extra safety protocols for public spaces, people are longing to get out and literally breathe fresh air …without contracting covid, of course. With all this pent up energy, I think I got ahead of myself and forgot to pause and check my mentality before pursuing my annual Zion + snowboarding trip. I was so focused on getting away and getting out…just like everyone else. And my expectations of low crowds, beautiful scenery and adventure did not match the pandemic reality. Crowds were aplenty and I’m trying to learn patience with people and the pandemic times while also looking at what I want out of trips versus what I will actually get.
My normal positive mental attitude wasn’t 100 percent there, in case you can’t tell. :D Signs of the times were everywhere, including not only the one death but another suicide at Angel’s Landing earlier that week, crazy crowds like I’ve never seen and constant roadblocks that never used to exist. In hindsight, which, ironically, is always 2020 (haaaa), I should’ve just hiked past Angel’s Landing, found a way to get better sleep and made more of an effort to hydrate myself and eat real food.
Brian Head Resort in Utah cooled off my hot head.
Snowboarding, on the other hand, was my one saving day and had me leaving southern Utah with a very tired smile.
Hindsight…Maybe we can change that “hindsight is 2020″ thing…
It wasn’t ALL camping mishaps. Check out a few more photos from Zion, Kolob and Brian Head in my album below!
And a long compilation of my videos from Zion to Kolob Canyon and Brian Head, too:
https://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/IMG_3914.jpg30244032confessionsofasurfergirlhttps://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/confessions-logo2.pngconfessionsofasurfergirl2021-03-16 07:42:412021-03-16 07:42:415 Camping Mistakes I Made in Zion and Why
If anyone has been able to escape the craziness of the last few weeks (see: U.S. capitol & racist jerks), you might have noticed that there was a bit of a cat fight at Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore between two insanely talented surfer girls.
Local Pipe charger Moana Wong took off deep on a wave and was dropped in on by Brazilian professional surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb, who instead of riding the wave, straightened out towards the sand.
But this wasn’t just any cat fight—it was one that needed to happen.
Coming to you live from Moana Wong’s Instagram–this is what happens when you drop in on a local, brah. #socialmediasuicide
The incident brought to the surface an abundance of issues ranging from the obvious safety hazards of Pipe, local girl v. privileged pro, coaches blocking for their athletes and using social media as a platform to call each other out.
I’m sure we can dissect this six ways from Sunday, and I’m pretty sure you and your buddies already have or you let’s Stab’s report do it for you. But did anyone catch the fact that this sort of incident has happened a MILLION times over with guy surfers? Nah.
Yes, Moana had every right to call out Tatiana and Tatiana (and her coach) should’ve been way more careful since Moana had no other choice but to ditch her board and head straight to the reef. A fight on the beach later and up goes social media a la insults and canned PR-y responses—I guess it’s good for something, right?
Pipe is the most dangerous wave on the planet, and Moana had an unnecessary run-in with the reef, thanks to Tati’s “misjudgment” and “poor eye sight.” I call shenanigans. But Tatiana’s canned apology felt like her mom dragged her by the ear and forced her to Moana’s doorstep only having Tati make a half-assed apology when in fact Tati could take a page from Moana’s barrel riding prowess—anyone watch Tati in the Pipe Masters? Meh.
All gossip girl shit aside, I’d like to implore surfers everywhere to think about how this has been portrayed in the media thus far: someone thought it advantageous to take a video of the two girls fighting on the beach hoping to get something juicy for the presses.
When I watched that video, it pissed me off. Thanks for capitalizing on an incident we’ve seen happen with surfer guys a million other times. Now because there are women involved, there’s suddenly surfer paparazzi.
What were you hoping for? A bikini wrestling match? Grow up.
We, as surfers, are an ever-growing population. Innovation and technology are ushering in a new form of surf culture by bringing surfing to the inland masses through wave parks and marketing tactics. More and more folks are arriving at our coveted breaks not knowing the rules or the locals. People who otherwise might not have a clue about your break might be dropping in on you next weekend. Rick Kane has never been more present!
I get it—it’s more crowded than ever and we’re grumpy.
But unless you like surfing frigid mysto reefs complete with submarine-sized sharks, it’s time to sack up and:
Learn the rules of the road or actually listen to the rules of the road
Be kind, unless someone almost kills or injures you
Otherwise, we’re all in for more incidents like these.
To the women surfers: it is up to each of us to rise above the anger, the privilege, the B.S. and support one another in and out of the water. In this case, it was imperative for Moana to call Tatiana on her shit as Moana could’ve been seriously injured or killed. Don’t hesitate to do the same—some people are just not aware.
And—don’t fall for the B.S. the press puts out there.
Peace, love and #Don’tDropInOnMeOrElse.
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I confess: Over the past several weeks, I’ve been surfing. What was a few times has now returned to my routine. It had been over two months since I got in the water and the first time back felt weird. It felt wrong and odd, I felt like some kind of social recluse committing a crime, but giggling on the way in all the same.
I went to River Jetties in Newport and as I dipped my toe in the luke-warm ocean, a sense of relief and paranoia struck me all at once.
If this feeling could be put into words, it might look something like this:
(not) a poo barrel–sponger gets a clean barrel at Wedge in Newport.
Can you get coronavirus from surfing? It lingered in my mind, distracted me from catching waves as I drifted towards the rivermouth. My friend’s sarcastic line floated into my mind: “Where the poo meets the sea is where I surf”—referring to River.
Is it viable once in the salt? It’s been said that it can be passed on through freshwater, like lakes and rivers. But studies don’t have conclusions about saltwater. Also, when waves break, it creates an aerosol affect, which translates into tiny water droplets flying through the air and into your smiling mug, according to some speculations.
Yummm taste that COVID-19 spray! Over the (small) falls at Wedge in Newport.
But that’s speculative.
At this point, the research community does not know if people can contract the COVID-19 virus from exposure to feces in recreational waters but the overall consensus is that it might be possible.
MRSA, e.coli and all those other fun germies can be caught through dirty water, so it sounds like we treat this as we would a sewage spill—don’t surf dirty water and stay away from people as best as you can.
But, tell that to 50 of your best buddies vying for the peak at Lowers on a Saturday morning.
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For past several months, COVID-19 has spread across the nation and the world as a serious infectious virus killing thousands in its path. The virus has caused not only an economic recession on a global scale, but also major closures of all kinds—including business, entertainment, events, restaurants and now—parks and beaches.
The adult in me agrees—but the surfer in me seethes. For the sake of public health, this is the responsible thing to do. Californians will have to sit back and either get a little pudgier or develop a workout routine that works within the confines of a six-foot bubble.
If we go outside, we risk infection—for not only ourselves, but also, and perhaps more detrimentally, another person whose immune system may be compromised. As surfers we are touted with having one, if not THE most selfish view—it’s all about me and the waves, right? What will COVID-19 bring out in each surfer?
Darling you’ve got to let me know….
Will you bring back 1970’s Trestles, say ‘fuck it’ and charter a boat to Lowers, middle finger to the law and score semi-empty A-frames when it’s firing? (Because God knows it will fire between now and June)
Will you stay inside and stream those epic free workouts via YouTube? I’ll be listing a few pretty soon…just sayin’.
Or perhaps you’ll go for a run outside and base your path on avoiding all forms of human life, like me. Believe me, it makes for an interesting run.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Who said it—I don’t know. But I do know that right now, worldwide, we are all in need of something. Whether it is a dire need for vaccines, diagnostic testing for COVID-19, down to toilet paper, tissues, groceries, companionship or just a nice hug from a friend, this event has brought out the worst or the best in humanity. It has made us realize that no matter the dire situation, we, as a family, community, population, human race will find a way. Whether it’s saying fuck it or hunkering down, it’s a way and it will be remembered.
I went for a run today at lunch and although stores and cities are ghost towns, I did see people out and about catching some much needed vitamin D. And I wondered what was next.
What will this show us as a society? What will this bring to the fold? What new inventions will this create?
The complete quarantine was next. If you are a Californian, Washingtonian, New Yorker, you are tucked away behind walls while at the same time fighting for groceries, lining up in front of firearm shops, sniffing out metal baseball bats at the local Goodwill (don’t mess with me!)…while hoping our families across the country, the sea, the world are okay, wishing we could be with them right now.
Should I cool it or should I go?
Necessity—what will you create out of this mishegas?
For now—I’m staying out of the water, respecting people’s health and am flipping on YouTube for some kind of natural endorphins. I’ll be running around outside, too, albeit avoiding folks as best as possible. Also, gardening is thing—consider it.
One thing I’ve noticed within the last two weeks: more people than ever are going outside.
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With Thanksgiving and the holidays charging at me, a single gal, sleigh bells full in the face, I realize that I’m not dreading them as much as I thought. (Ask me this again—in two months around, oh say, February 14 and see if I’ve changed my mind.)
In the day-to-day, surf-to-surf, board-to-board sessions, we often gripe and complain because it’s easy— “It’s too crowded!” “None of these kooks are locals!” “Waves not breaking right” “It doesn’t break like it used to back in the ‘70s.” “arghs$@#!”
Rarely do we look at the bigger picture…even in the darkest and supposedly “loneliest” hours where the holidays (and V-day) amplify that loneliness. I have recently felt the cold pang of lonely and, in short, it sucks. Learning how to pick up the pieces and move forward was always challenging for me, and often felt like I was exiting an emotional war zone …that is until I changed my mindset. I’m definitely NOT saying I no longer feel sad—I have good days and bad days. But I’m learning to look at things from a different perspective. When the throat closes up and the tears start to well, I remember how far I’ve come and where I’m going—but that is a whole ‘nother bar ‘o wax.
But really—are we alone? No. Should we gripe about that last overcrowded session at Trestles, Steamer Lane, North Shore, Rincon, C-street,…[fill in the blank] surf spot?
What good does griping and complaining do, anyway? Sure it can make you laugh in the moment, but being genuinely pissed about something you can’t change, like the tide or the swell? Why?
As you may know well beyond my years—life is not always easy street. Amiright? But it’s those bumps in the road, those impossibly crowded days, those “Lake Pacifics” and errant haoles/townies/kooks that make your sessions much mo bettah.–ha! (please don’t beat me up)
So, I am grateful for that double-timing douche bag in the Captain America wetsuit who dropped in on me constantly and back paddled me excessively—he made me paddle harder. I am grateful for getting caught inside on an annoyingly semi-big and walled day in Newport—made me perfect my duck dive. I am grateful for the dozens of prick guys who under-estimated my ability based on my blonde locks and cute butt—gave me a good target to aim my spray. I am grateful for the friends who always bailed out at the last minute—it taught me independence.
I am grateful for all the rejection letters from publications, the professors who were extra hard, the bosses who were extra cruel, the parents that were extra dumb, the boys that constantly lied and were, well, just EXTRA, the friends that flaked and flaked some more—I AM GRATEFUL.
You know why?
Without them, I wouldn’t know rejection, I wouldn’t know failure, I wouldn’t know heartbreak.
I wouldn’t know my own strength.
If you don’t know these things yet, are you human? And if it seems like the world puts you flat on your face constantly, know that you are being fashioned to be SO STRONG! Don’t give up on that.
It is not easy to take in these lessons, especially when they force you to change something about yourself… but I learned something from each one…even if it was the same lesson over and over. The same wall breaking in my face over and over, the same guy back paddling me to no end. It will happen enough times to make my blood boil and drags me out of my pity party to challenge me to move forward with self-love.
So with the holidays rearing it’s cheery face, I won’t be lonely, or depressed or heartbroken—despite my 2019 being so crazy. I will just keep paddling back out again and again, regardless–with an A-plus duck dive, thanks to good old Newps!
I will just simply be ME.
And that’s all I can be.
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The iconic Malibu-second point during a recent swell.
Words and Photos By: David “Crappy” Campbell
The City of Trashy Angels…The Big Smoke that can’t hide it’s big city lights or the fake tits bolted on to even more fake plastic people who’s inflated egos hide smashed dreams. Los Angeles is a one-of-a-kind gem. Not for everyone, to say the least. You have to possess a certain mindset in this city to deal with some of the bull.
The sometimes amazing surf helps, tho.
The Los Angeles surf scene is very different from Ventura County to it’s north and Orange County to it’s south. It’s rich surf history only rivals Hawaii and Australia’s Gold Coast expelling much of the early surf stardom icons that brought forth a rash of Gidget and Moondoggie wannabe’s.
Love it, hate it, either way, surely you have some kind of opinion to share, whether asked or not–regardless of your local surf scene knowledge. You probably have something to say about it. This city isn’t exactly known for being hush-hush.
I CONFESS: I’ve been around a few parts of our small circuit of surf towns across the globe–I’m not gloating, but feel it necessary to lay out a statement: L.A. is actually a nice place for a surfer to live.
If you defend your town, which happens to be Los Angeles, you better be prepared to have your credentials looked over. A dark cloud hovers over the Los Angeles County surf scene when viewed from the eyes’ of strangers. Sure, everyone knows about the famous spots, but it feels like whenever other Californians talk about Los Angeles, they always have some kind of ignorant look on their face. All they know is that it can get good, but it’s crowded as hell and it’s not that consistent.
If you had to use one word that separates L.A. from neighboring Orange County and Ventura, it would be “diversity.” From the Palos Verdes cliffs and north to County Line–wait, is that a Beach Boys line? It almost is, actually– you can find your hollow A-frame beach breaks, mushy longboard waves, even some select slabs and a very secretive big wave spot. The Big Smoke has something for everyone.
Glassy, clean and not empty at Manhattan Beach.
That’s right: As in everyone and their red-headed step-cousin from Oklahoma.
Diversity brings some pretty kooky shit to the lineup and it might have something to do with that giant white sign that use to say “Hollywoodland.” This particular surf culture crosses paths with the affluent Hollywood scene and sometimes that path gets blurred, which has propelled this sport into the mainstream media–some say for better, others say for worse.
Stories of Daniel Tosh regulating line ups…the local crew smashing paparazzi’s cameras while they attempt to troll for Matthew McConaughey…apparently, Rob Lowe sharing his gear from his fully stocked shed.
The L.A. surf scene is more than often a ZOO, especially in the summer. A giant zoo fuckfest, actually. But you gotta do your homework here, put in your time, have the right mindset, right amount of free time and a good set of wheels. Doesn’t hurt to have some friends, the right friends. Not A-list or D-list friends, but the kind that follow sand and are willing to share their personal surf reports with you as opposed to five thousand of their closest friends on Instagram.
You like right points and boardshorts? Summer time in North L.A. has that for you. You like big hollow kegs? Look up some YouTube videos of Alex Graysurfing the South Bay last fall. The obvious variables (weather, tide, swell angle) offer all types of waves which is the key to this abundant and vibrant surf scene.
Ever hung around L.A. on Christmas Day? Looks like the set of a zombie apocalypse film minus our flesh-craving buddies. Empty parking lots, no one around, no traffic…it’s fantastically amazing! A ghost town of grand proportions!
Traffic is the real big mother of L.A. and can be the deciding factor for your sunset session. Everyone knows traffic is the work of the devil and represents everything that is soulless. Everyone loves to complain about it, too. My advice? Get over it, shut up and figure it out. Get your routes down. Plan accordingly. You wanna go east on the ten after 7 a.m.–Are you out of your freakin’ mind? Even when I get caught up in gridlock, I always like to take Dillion Perrilo’s advice on traffic, as said in a recent interview:
“Just realize that you are the traffic.”
Whoa, pretty deep there Dillion, but spot on.
So minus the traffic shit show, you got swells from both directions at different times of the year.
During the winter, head towards South Bay and find your sandbar, or go north. Oxnard and Ventura are easy drives and you can find empty peaks, if you know where to look. In the Summertime, you have the sweet points of Malibu and 27 miles of coastline options. The obvious ones are Topanga, the ‘Bu and County Line, (not gonna offer anything more than that). With well-known spots comes a fun crowd, which is why Angelenos hold their cards so closely to their chest. And the crowds here can get real interesting.
A great spot called ‘None of your business.’
Seen some heavy shit here. Someone got the barrel of a lifetime and was about to make a clean exit into glory, but upon a lovely exit, someone else thought that wave was actually THEIR wave of the day. The drop-in game was strong with this barney as homeboy deep in tube gets crushed by said barney directly on top of the head. It was disgusting enough for everyone to wanna exit the water in shame. Or how about the stories of people getting cut off at Topanga? When they raise their voice against this injustice, instead of getting an apology, they get a good slapping. As your surfing ability progresses, crowd navigation becomes a major part of your routine. L.A. kicks it up a notch by constantly testing your patience.
If you don’t follow @kook_of_the_day on Instagram, stop reading this right now and make that follow. Most of those posts come from somewhere in Los Angeles as well as Main Street in Huntington Beach. Kooky people are plentiful and L.A. county has about 10 million options among it’s dudes and dudettes hanging around. It seems they all wanna surf right where you wanna surf, or at least get in your way while you surf.
The surf world is expanding and crowds are just another factor you have to deal with. Do your homework, follow swell directions, follow the sand and you can score L.A.’s fun waves with minimal folk. It’s not as simple as parking your car and walking out to T-street. Surfing and city life is a hassle at times and you will get frustrated. But nothing worthwhile in life comes easy, just ask any intern on a Hollywood film set.
Crappy Campbell confesses…
David Campbell lives in Los Angeles, is a surfer, world traveler and an old pal. Also known as “Crappy Campbell,” he is regular contributor for Australia’s Surfing Life Magazine.
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When it comes to the dating world, surfers can be a “special” bunch. One minute you think you’re going for a nice romantic walk on the beach, the next thing you know, you’ve got a DSLR in tow, no idea how to use it and your guy (or gal) is saying “Ok, babe! Just remember to hold down the button when you see me on a wave!”
Good thing for that tan chiseled bod, right?
If feelings progress from “eye candy” status and you do not partake in the salty agua pleasures, here are some pointers you might consider while dating your little surfer girl or boy. RESULTS MAY VARY.
How many fins do you think he’s got on the face? Always a crowd pleaser, Wedge can produce one heart-stopping drop after the next.
1.) Waves, baby…
It’s all about those bumps in the ocean. And he or she will probably want you to watch them surf, too. Don’t try to understand the obsession, just go with it. The more your significant other tries to explain their love for surfing, the crazier they might sound. Just keep in mind this is a part of their life that keeps them connected/sane/calm, so don’t try to take it away—or consider your relationship done-zo.
2.) Expect global maps and charts to be part of your internet browser favorites/wall decor.
Don’t be surprised if your browser’s homepage is NOAA, Surfline, The Inertia…A typical surfer loves to travel in search of the endless break, the endless summer, the endless beer bottle/coconut farm/smoothie…whatever “endless” journey they have in mind, know that there will be a map or chart on the wall depicting this journey…or a dream scene from it.
“Look at that huge trench off the coast of…” (expect that to be your next vacay spot.)
3.) You will always know what the weather’s doing
You’re the first one who knew it was going to be 85 degrees in the middle of February and you dressed approps…that’s a plus, right? You’ve got your surfer to thank for that.
4.) Your dates will be based around the tide schedule
Let’s just hope your surfer significant other understands that meeting the parents is not as “tide-friendly.”
5.) Expect sand in the bed
Unless your surfer significant other is OCD, know that your bed sheets will inherit the beach. If sand critters are beginning to establish colonies and form hierarchies under the sheets, that’s when you might want to establish boundaries…and a terrific outside shower system.
Clearly you do not want this in your bed…unless you like overnight exfoliation.
6.) You may travel to locales you didn’t know existed. Bring a hat, sunscreen and distractions.
Where the heck is Lombok? Don’t see a Groupon travel special for that one. FYI: Most surfers base their travel around maps, charts (see ‘Wall Decor’), last minute web rates and friends with standby hook ups… The words “all-inclusive” don’t register to the briny haired.
7.) You like talking on the phone or texting for long periods of time?
TOO BAD. Those charted journeys often require several days with no cell service or if your surfer is still local, they might just be in the water–of course: the day I see someone chatting away on their phone in the lineup is the day I quit– This is a reality you will have to face. If your surfer has a travel bug, investigate your phone’s international coverage and remember apps like “What’s App,” “Viber” and Skype. It’s important to chime in while they’re submerged in a foreign country and possibly surrounded by dangerous happenings…like other half-naked, tanned and chiseled bods.
Feeling a little lost in translation? Don’t fret.
8.) Do not attempt to decode surfer jargon.
Whenever he or she is around fellow surfers, it’s as if they speak another language, right? Don’t stress. This is what surfers like to refer to as “frothing” and it’s completely normal. Surfer Today has a decent basic surf speak guide.
Your first test: “Bro, did you see that perfect A-frame peak I scored on the outside?! Dude, that set was macking!! My alaia launched an air on the inside right over the kook chillin’ on that airplane wing!”
Tales can become as tall as the barrel they chat about…unless they have a camera.
9.) Listen to their stories
So you’ve heard about how a shark fin surfaced three feet in front of them after their skag gashed their leg open for the ten millionth time… or that time they caught a “30 second barrel” at Huntington Pier…or the double over head wave they scored at Trestles with no one out. It’s always good to just smile and listen, even if the tales grow taller by the day.
Disclaimer: This is based on no sociological or anthropological research other being a surfer girl for the past 11 years. There are many surfers out there who do not adhere to the stereotype, these are known as your “gems.” GO FOR IT…dude.
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