Friday, August 03, 2007

Oh, Side

Oside this morning. Small, crumbly, crappy. Very disappointing.

Normally the Colonel reserves the drive through Pendleton for big swells, but it's summer and sometimes you just gotta rally with the SD crew any way you can.

Now I'm back in Dana Point at the new office, which, I gotta say, is just fucking epic.

We're across the street from the Dana Point harbor. There's a sushi place next door, a bakery, a sandwich place, and bluffs on both sides of our little complex. Did I mention we have rocks inside? We do.

Since I'm going down this little rathole anyway, here's another shot. Then we can go back to complaining about the waves in the land of baby parents.

Speaking of which, the baby parents were out in full force today. The Colonel tries not to get weirded out by 18 year-old enlisted boys and their tiny tykes, but especially nowadays, it's hard not to stare a bit. I mean, I've been surfing the harbor and eating breakfast at that same Denny's for 15 years now. And the Denny's is, and always has been, ground zero for high school graduation->wedding->bootcamp->delivery room couples and their offspring. I guess I'm just finally old enough that they really look like children to me now.

Pity? I don't think so. They usually seem as happy as any other couple with a baby or two in tow. But yeah, maybe there's a little pity mixed with the fascination that makes it hard to stop watching them as we eat. Then again, maybe it's the his and hers matching tattoos, which seems to be growing in popularity.


So yes, waves were crap today. Should have brought a fish or a log, but I had higher expectations.

Meanwhile, surfing in San Clemente these past few weeks has been an interesting experience. It's definitely a different beast than HB. Completely different actually.

HB is big. Big beaches, big lineups, big parking lots. It's very spread out (unless you're surfing the pier, which is kind of like a big mosh pit that smells like hamburgers). San Clemente is compact...most of the beaches are crammed up against cliffs and bluffs...which is actually nice. I mean, it's not Laguna, but the beaches are semi-pretty and have some natural characteristics. Unlike HB which is urban surfing at its most urban. Think Miami with brownish water and more trash on the beach.

The other big difference is the blackball factor. Almost every beach in SC is partially blackballed during the summer. And the fact is, it has to be. The same topography that created the bluffs also causes the beaches to drop off fairly dramatically into the ocean. That translates into waves that break very close to shore and creates a close encounter situation with swimmers that would be unmanageable without the blackball. It sucks but it's necessary.

Besides, it's not like they blackball the entire beach. North Beach, T-Street, State Beach...there's always a surfing stretch within walking distance.

And yes, the vibe is also very different in South County. Hardcore Huntington is Hardcore Huntington. Even away from the pier there's an attitude and a vibe that's just a bit this side of unpleasant. San Clemente is simply mellower. It looks mellower and it is. The cliffs are soft and rounded, the style of the city is more fluid and relaxed, and the water is prettier and warmer. The boys and girls in the water reflect that.

Not surprisingly, I haven't surfed Trestles once. Fact is, you could live on Christianitos Road and Trestles would STILL be a complete hassle to surf. The walk in, the waiting for waves, the changing on the beach, the walk's a half day commitment, minimum. All that for the most crowded wave in California? Well, I was going to say "pass" with a self-satisfied smirk on my face. But I just couldn't get it out.

Despite all the hassle, Trestles is one of the best waves I've ever surfed. One head-high wave can turn the walk and the wait into loose change.

The Colonel says, "I'll be back."