I found myself sitting on the break wall at Sand Spit tonight watching one intrepid soul doing his best to make to the most of the meager wind swell on offer. Though it was small it also looked a bit on the fun side. Did I turn around and run back to my apartment to get my board for a paddle? Not even. I had a mediocre surf a Emma Wood in the morning that more then filled my surf quota for the day (Check out the April Surflog for more on that surf). Then I remembered back eight years ago when I first came out here and didn’t even have a car.
I surfed some of the most deplorable Sand Spit one can imagine. I would have been super stoked on a session that I was at the moment bearing witness to. Eight years is a long time. Throw in another three years or so of constant travel to some of the world’s best waves prior and one’s perspectives can really change. Up until the past two years ago or so I never would have believed that I could even be considered a jaded southern Californian surfer. I thought my east coast surf ethic would stay strong. In a way it has still. I with out a doubt paddle in far more conditions then my born and bread Californian friends.
At the same time I have in the last eight years surfed nearly every single wave in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area epic at least once. Spots like Rincon I have had so many days that would make any normal surfer grin from ear to ear and experience the wave of his life on that I have lost count. These days such has almost worked to my own personal detriment. It’s hard for me to get into average Rincon, or small Sand Spit, sub par El Capitan. I have seen these waves at their best. I have caught some of the best waves of my life courtesy of them.
There was a time when I first arrived here in Santa Barbara that I was constantly finding the “wave of my life”. Today my causal expression when asked to describe the conditions is most likely “Best of the worst” or “better then not surfing I suppose”. I still have plenty of stoke and love surfing more then anything else in life. At the moment I am having a real difficulty finding that fire in my eyes that I used to have. I want to recapture that. I want to go out there and be stoked on two foot Sand Spit and an eight turn ride at Rincon.
What do we do when the magic appears to be running out? I have been surfing 24 years, been a professional, challenged and pushed my limits. Where do I go from here? One thing that is for sure surfing is still the love of my life. Every facet in my day to day is catered around finding the best surf I possibly can. If I miss a day I still feel as bad about it as I did when I was eleven. I guess I just need to reconnect with that inner grom that at the moment is ashamed of who he grew up to be.
I remember when I was fourteen I rode my bike 3 miles in February to the beach. The air was maybe 2oF and the water I was furiously peddling to get to a balmy 38F. I would get to the beach already frozen, pull on usually wet and cold 5/4/3 and paddle sometimes windblown knee to thigh high closed out dribble and it meant everything to me. Lately I have felt lost and I think the main reason is because I lost my stoke, my soul. I guess the new plan is to rediscover this, find my stoke, my soul and let my inner grom out and forget about this being an adult stuff. I think I have let the real world cloud my priorities for way too long.
I am going to get back on my bicycle, ride down to the beach and surf and forget about everything else cause in the end all that bullshit society has made me believe was important to me and suppose to make me happy hasn’t. When I was sleeping on the couch at my current apparent back in 2007 with nothing but four surf boards and a back pack full of clothes just shredding anything and everything I could were some of my happiest times here. These days I have nice things. Friends are envious when they walk into my apartment. All the while I am miserable. Get ready, for a change is soon to take place.