San Diego Surf Log: First Month

July 25th, 2019

Windansea

This is the first spot I “surfed” in San Diego. Surfed is in quotes because I did not catch a single wave. Okay, I caught some white water on the way in… But I was too nervous to go for these waves. I had a lot to do upon moving, but Jake convinced me to take a little time to check out the surf life here. They were 5-7ft and really slow, but I was more nervous because of the ‘locals only’ vibe I got. I feel like if these exact waves were at Salmon, I’d go for them because there would be less people, but also because I just know the geography of that spot better. I surfed my 7’6.  There was definitely a competitive spirit in the water. There is not enough room for two people on one wave. The guys out here surfing are really good. It made me realize that I am not good at surfing. There was one guy who yelled at another as he was trying to catch the same wave as him. “HEY HEY HEY!!!” Yeah, I was content watching them. I was the only girl out there for about 30-40 minutes. Then a pair of long boarding chicks came out. One guy cheered me on for a set wave. I was casually paddling into it, but then he said, “Go! Go! Go!” So I tried harder. I didn’t catch it, but it was the closest wave I got to catching. I just need to send it. I will get better and come back to surf Windansea in a couple of months.

July 26th

Tourmaline Beach

Today I surfed with Julia, Daniela, Kelsey (and Tarana watched from the beach). Julia had borrowed some boards from her friend for the girls. There were wavestorms, but one of them was a short board. Maybe 6’7? Nothing too crazy. It was a liquid shredder so it was more eggy. But Julia was not having a good time on it, so I offered to ride it and let her ride my 7’6. I am so glad I made this offer. This board was so fun. It took a little while to get into anything, but then I realized I had to stay more inside and bottom feed off of the surfers who didn’t get the good waves out the back. The waves today were smaller like 2-4’. It was a good day for the girls to practice, but Daniela didn’t go for anything. She told me she has PTSD from trying to surf Steamer’s Lane a few weeks ago! I don’t blame her haha! The drop-ins on the short board were soooo fun. And I am slowly figuring my way around maneuvering and balancing on it.

July 28th

Tourmaline Beach

I met up with the girls today and had a goodbye surf session. We started early, like 7am (not that early I guess haha). The waves were almost the same as the day before yesterday, but just a little sloppier. They didn’t have as much shape. I realized I do not need to use a wet-suit in San Diego which is rad. I was SWEATING in my 4’3 yesterday so I wore just a rash guard and swim bottoms. I rode the short board again. I want this board. I asked Julia if her friend would sell it to me. There is a much better vibe out here at Tourmaline than Windansea which makes sense since Tourmaline is a beginner beach. All the people surfing here are making conversation. I apologized to this lady for getting on a wave she was already on and she just said, “Oh that’s totally fine! I would’ve shared with ya!” and shot me a smile. There are sting rays here which makes me nervous. I saw a girl get stung today. Her foot bled and a lifeguard had to carry her away. Julia said it’s a bitch to care for a stingray sting. You have to soak it in warm water for 45 minutes. I know this will probably happen to me eventually. I just hope I don’t cry! Julia said a trick to avoid them is to wade out by shuffling your feet. This way, the sting rays hear you coming and scatter.

July 31st

Del Mar Beach

I surfed my 7’6. There were not many surfers today. Mostly groms. They are so cute, man. I hope my kids want/like to surf. I killed it today. I felt really solid in terms of positioning and I caught a wave everytime a set came through. I hurt my ankle though. I jumped off my board (wiped out) and the nose of my board came up and hit my heel. It is purple and blue, but I surfed again the next day on it no problem. It is just tender to the touch. I came out of the water when this happened and a lifeguard saw me. She offered me an ice pack! What a luxury!!! “Yes please!” We don’t have lifeguards on Norcal beaches to offer icepacks haha! She said “You’re getting some good ones out there!” My ego was patted. 

August 1st

Scripps Beach

Today my ego was humbled. For some reason I did way worse on waves that were way smaller? I wiped out pretty consistently. I’d give myself a 50% in terms of performance. This was the beach I taught Jake how to surf at five months ago. It was weird to see it so overcast and crowded and cleaner (wave wise). I used my surf jacket that I ordered off Roxy last week. It felt a little small, but the girl at Roxy said it fit alright. If I had gone a size up, it would be too big in the arms. My chest suffers a bit though. (I guess my boobs aren’t as small as I thought!) It has a key pocket which is sick! I surfed until last light. I started to get covered by seaweed and it kept freaking me out. I hate seaweed. As I walked back to my car, I turned around and saw the red sun peaking just a sliver out between the horizon and the clouds that covered the rest of the sky. It was beautiful. I can’t believe I live here.

August 2nd 

Torrey Pines

I rode my 7’6 on an overcast morning. There were probably 3 other surfers out there with me. I stayed between the lifeguard towers as reference points because the current was strong this day. An average size of 3-5’ with an occasional bomb. The waves resembled those of Del Mar.

August 4th 

Tourmaline

I found out the other name for this spot is “Old Man’s.” This makes sense considering the demographic. I love the vibe of this spot, and people are really understanding and patient. This is why I chose to take Jake here to try out his new 7’0. (Not 7’7 as we had thought!) It’s egg shaped. I really want to ride it and see how it feels. Jake was getting balanced most of the day, but he stood up twice! Once we went on the inside it was easier to catch waves. It was really small. It was even hard for me to get into waves on my 7’6. I met some girls who seem really cool. Potentially surfer friends! Amy, Tamara, Desiree and Azul. They work in recreation. It was a small, but social surf day.

August 5th

OB

Jake and I surfed Ocean Beach today. I rode my 7’6. OB waves were the same as the last time I surfed it. Pretty consistent spot. I love the vibe around OB. I kill it here. We ran into Paul Holden! Paul is a pretty active surfer nowadays. He told me he just got back from a surf trip in Brazil! 

August 9th 

Cardiff

My dad and I surfed Cardiff Beach today.  It was cool surfing with my dad. He did good considering the size of the waves. I wasn’t worried about him, because I knew he’d go back in if he didn’t feel comfortable, but also cause he is a bad ass and can excel in literally anything outdoor related. Dad saw me catch this rad wave. He knows that I actually can surf now haha! Confirmed. Oh, and that sunset out there! Geez, it was gorgeous looking at all those silhouetted figures against the red backdrop. We escaped the chaos happening in the Zalesky house and I am really glad we did because it was the only time my dad and I got to spend with each other one on one. 

August 12th

OB

I think I surfed Ocean Beach today? This week is a little blurry and I didn’t keep up with logging (It is currently Friday). No yeah, I did surf OB today. I remember because I got an acai bowl afterwards to reward myself for a job well done ;). I am one out of two girls there. Consistently. Which I guess is okay because any wave I catch will be impressive in comparison. I want to be at a dude level though. 

August 13th

Del Mar 

I love this spot. I seem to do really well when no one or when few people are out there watching. But I cave under pressure apparently. I rode the liquid shredder which I bought off Julia’s friend a week ago. I need to figure out how to release water from it… It’s a fun board and I feel really light and free on it. I am smitten with short-boarding.

August 14th

La Jolla/Scripps

Jake and I surfed here. I rode my 7’6. I wiped out more than I got up which is so confusing because these are baby waves compared to Del Mar! I wonder if it is because they are just faster. Whatever. I never seem to do well at La Jolla. I don’t enjoy waves here. They kept closing out too. Jake got up a few times. I am yet to see him myself! I keep missing him! I realized I am not a good teacher and it is probably a good thing I didn’t get a job here as a surf instructor. 

August 15th

Trestles and Del Mar

Well. Today I visited the infamous Trestles. Gosh I’m a noob… A complete kook for the way I behaved today. I plugged in “Trestles Surf Area” on my phone and hoped for the best. I got ushered into a gated community with a security guard at the front. I told him, “Um, this is my first time here. I just want to surf?” He laughed and told me to park on the other side of the freeway next to the Carl’s Junior. I would have to walk down a bike path. “Over half a mile.” He said. 

I got to the Carl’s Junior and parked. I noticed that the surfers here had bikes which had racks for their surfboards. I got nervous after seeing this because I thought, “Well how far away is this beach?” I asked a lady who pulled up next to me. “Hey can I walk to this beach?” She took her bike out of her truck. “Well, yeah you can. Most people just use a bike because it is a lot faster.” She explained the layout of Trestles. There were 5 spots. I can’t remember all of them but it was like “Uppers, Cottons, Lowers”. She recommended that I stay to the right of the lifeguard tower. “It’s definitely a walk. But you’re gonna be so stoked when you get out there.” I smiled. My feet were burning on the pavement and I could not wait to get them into the water. I should have worn shoes on this trek. I didn’t realize it would be rough pavement all the way down to the beach until I was half way there already. I did a little jog in places without shade and tried to keep my feet up as much as possible. By the time I got half way down, my feet were fucked. Painted across the bike path was a message: “If you don’t live here, don’t surf here.” It was one of the first “locals only” signs I have ever seen. And I almost heeded its warning and went back up. My feet were in so much pain. The 4 o’clock afternoon sun was beating down on the bike path and I just wanted to sit down and cry. I was so close though. I couldn’t give up. After 20 minutes, my feet hit sand. I ran under some train tracks and looked to see Trestles in all of its glory. It was beautiful, but I didn’t know if I could handle it. I sat for a while, just watching. I saw the different spots my friend from the parking lot had told me about and I followed her advice to stick to the right of the lifeguard tower. At this point, my feet were so excited to be in the water. But a new challenge presented itself. The tide was low and the rocks were exposed. Carefully, I treaded across them, trying not to damage my fins. I fell numerous times and felt like there had to be a better way to get out. Walking on these rocks after having my feet burnt to a crisp was not ideal. I finally made it out and shouted to a guy surfing close by, “Hey, is there a better way to get out?” He laughed. “It’s often like this. There’s really not a better way.”

I took off on a wave, stood up too early because of my excitement, and missed it. I paddled back to the lineup and an overwhelming cramp consumed my left foot. It felt like my toes were all on top of each other. Nothing to do in a situation like this except wait it out. I waited. And waited. My foot cramped for a solid five minutes. No surfing was going to happen today. Frustrated, I paddled back in and (after battling the rocks once again) flopped on the beach, totally defeated. I underestimated Trestles. The place was not for the faint of heart and I was underprepared. I dreaded the mile climb back to the parking lot and, in a desperate attempt to prolong the inevitable, took a nap. 

I don’t know how long I slept for, probably only half an hour, but it was enough to rejuvenate me and get me to start the trek back. Every step killed me. I could feel the blisters already forming. It took much longer to get to the top, and as bikes whizzed past me, I whimpered. I finally made it, and threw myself into my car, so disappointed by my lack of waves at the famous Trestles. I resolved to try for a wave in a spot with which I was more familiar. 

I wanted to catch at least one wave today and I went to Del Mar to try and achieve this. I did not. Del Mar was sloppy and choppy. When I finally did get up, I almost immediately jumped off due to the pain in my feet. It was a humiliating and waveless day even though I spent over 4 hours in hunt of surf. I am disappointed and currently icing my feet at home. 

August 21st

Ocean Beach

I guess it has taken me some time to get back into the water after my traumatic experience! My feet are recovered. I realized that I really do cave under pressure. I rode my 7’6 like a pro until the crowds came. When there are more than a few people in the water, I lose it. It is so weird. It’s like I start to surf to impress/for them, instead of for me! I normally pop up on a wave no problem, but then if I see a pair of eyes on me, I’ll wipe out. I definitely will never be in surf competitions! I locked my keys in my car today too. I was doing my hair and then accidentally closed the door which I had already locked.

August 22nd

Del Mar

It was pretty big out at Del Mar today! I mean, big compared to what SD waves have given me so far (besides Windansea). It was the biggest paddle battle I’ve had since being here. It reminded me of a good day at Salmon Creek. I stayed off to the side and caught corners. I caught two really good waves. I feel so good when I drop in now. It is so natural and fluid and I feel like it’s maybe a close second to flying. It is so interesting to see the learning process happen so quickly instead of over the course of a few weeks. The progress is tangible.

August 24th

Ocean Beach

Today, I celebrated a month of living in San Diego. Since I’ve been here, I have surfed sixteen days at eight different surf spots. Ocean Beach has really become the spot because of its consistency and vibe (and free and ample parking). I usually walk to OB’s social center after my session and get a coffee or a beer or an acai bowl. There is so much to experience within the town of Ocean Beach. It does get really bright before sundown though. Unless the sun is covered by clouds, we have to look straight into it. It is hard to see waves coming when you are being blinded. It has been a stellar weekend for surfing and I feel so alive when I am out there. I hope this keeps up for when Sloane visits in two weeks!

1 Comment

  1. Love to see your banging away at the keyboard and the surfboard! Most of your followers are not surfers…so we’d love to hear more about historical and modern surf culture. I related to your experience with “stage fright” at Ocean Beach. That is why I prefer big walls to sport climbs.

    Like

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