Two broken ribs. I rolled into our surf camp and found out that my brother Mike had snapped two of 'em across the rail of his 10'0 Stamps. And he was peeing blood. Just a little but- my god- isn't "a little" more than enough for any of us? The emergency room doctor thought he may have bruised one of his kidneys. Nasty stuff, and painful too. You should have seen the guy, hobbling around trying not to laugh, sneeze or fart. But it was also a sign that there was something surfable down at the beach. Mike said it was super fun, clean and thumpy; thus the broken bones and bloody piss.
Since I arrived too late in the day to run across the train tracks and down the trail to the little beach, I spent the early evening putting camp together and getting excited for the morning surf. I had heard that there was a little southern hemisphere south swell running and that high pressure was moving into the area. The combination of conditions meant there might be surf if I could find a beach that could pull in a hard angle south. And there was a possibility that the creeping high pressure might stifle the normal afternoon blow. The cosmic gears might just be aligning for me! Deep down though, I knew it was all possible- but not probable. This particular part of California isn't known for sucking in south swells so I wasn't holding my breath for anything spectacular (although I bet Jalama was firing).
For some reason I woke up the next morning and instead of checking the local beach, I jetted up the highway to a spot that I knew could pull some waves in. I wasn't wrong. I surfed the little sandbar peaks with another stand up paddler and a couple of prone surfers on boards too short to allow them to surf effectively. I had a good time, the session wasn't mindblowing but it was fun. I had a feeling the north wind might come up and blow everything out so I figured it might be my only chance to get wet that day.
After a killer, Hemingway style, lumberjack breakfast, I kicked back in camp chatting with my Mike, sipping coffee and watching the wind blow around the tops of the trees. I was right, I thought, here it is blown out and it's not even 'noon. Luckily for me, I eased off the mid-morning Pacificos and stayed clearheaded. The afternoon plan was to take the whole crew down to the camp's little local beach and I was elected to drive my injured brother down to the trail.
As we pulled up to the trail, I got a peak at the sea through a little cut in the brush. Glassy. Hmmm, that's odd, I thought. My curiosity was spiked enough to get me out of the cab. Mike and I sauntered down to the beach. The scene was a jaw dropper. The beach looked like Cabo San Lucas. Blue water, girls in bikinis laying out, kids in trunks jumping around in warm, sheet glass water. And not one of them concerned at all with the clean little A-frame peelers running down the little offshore sandbars. I was shocked- there were four foot barrels zipping left and right, coughing up mini-clouds of barrel spit. Alarm bells rang in my head, "Launch all fighters, Tora, Tora, Tora!" And like that I took of running back up the trail.
After ditching Mike, I jammed back to camp, chucked my gear into the truck and leaped into my trunks. Mike, too injured to surf, sat on the beach and shot video and stills while I surfed my brains out. The prone surfer is my friend CJ who paddled up out of nowhere. I haven't seen the guy in a few years and here he is showing up at just the right time at just the right spot. His comment, "It never gets good here."
In the end, Mike summed it all up with his philosophy on the stand up paddling experience: "Expectations: Zero. Stoke: Eleven." Well said.
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