Surf’s up, brah!

For the past year, I’ve been working evenings and Saturdays at my corporate job.  It worked out pretty well with my lifestyle.  I enjoyed being able to wake up without an alarm and enjoy a workout and breakfast every morning without rushing.  Sure, I missed out on beach days and BBQs on Saturdays, but it seemed worthwhile to have Mondays off.

Two weeks ago I started a new position, which provided a more traditional schedule.  I was surprised that I managed to transition to the early hours as well as I did.  I miss my Mondays off, but I’m now getting reintroduced to the magic of having a Saturday of leisure.  This weekend was a beautiful example of what a Saturday in Los Angeles should be.

First, a little back story about me.  When I moved to Los Angeles seven years ago, I wanted to learn how to surf so bad.  From the beach, I would watch the guys in the water catching waves.  I wanted to feel that rush.  I wanted to be one with the water.  It was years before I would have an opportunity to give it a try.  After my first time surfing (if you could call it that!), I fell in love.  I immediately bought a soft top beginners surf board and a wet suit.  I would wake up at 5:00 most mornings to surf before work.  It was easy to live the beach lifestyle back then.  I worked in West LA, which made it very feasible to surf before work.  And it’s amazing how the stress of the day seems like no big deal when you start the morning turtle diving under waves and watching playful dolphins surrounding you.

A year ago, I got a new job in downtown.  I decided to commute to work every day via the metro or my bike.  Six months into my employment is when it dawned on me that my car was more of a burden than an asset.  The only things I used it for was to surf or for performing volunteer work with the homeless on Skid Row.  These are two of my more fulfilling parts of my life, but neither justified the cost of owning a car.  June 2013 is when I made the plunge to ditch the four wheels.

The biggest downside of being without a car is that I can no longer pack up and surf whenever it’s convenient for me.  I went from surfing on average of 3-4 times per week when I worked in West LA to once a week working in DTLA while owning a car, and then about every other week since selling my vehicle.

My surfing skill has suffered greatly.  I’ll be honest, I was never a great surfer.  I was self taught and never took a lesson.  I never cared too much about my skill level.  For me, surfing is about becoming one with the awesome force and life of the ocean.  Few things in this world have brought me to such a zen state.  But now when I paddle out, I feel that there is little I can do besides simply paddling out.  I feel myself getting psyched out when a measly three foot wave rolls in, and I used to charge five foot waves without batting an eye.  I still make a point to get in the water whenever I can, regardless of whether I look like a kook each time.

These days, I’m at the mercy of my surf buddies to get me out in the water.  Fortunately, they seem to enjoy my company enough to pick me up and drive me out to the beach.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact I bribes my surf friends with smoothies and lunch in exchange for getting me to the ocean!

Yesterday was the type of day that was made for surfing.  It was nearly 80 degrees at the coast with clear skies.  The forecast was predicting 3-5 foot waves.  My buddy, McBride, picked me up at 9:00.  Neither of us had plans until the evening, so we decided to make the most of our surf day.  We drove up to the Ventura County Line, which is one of my choice breaks when the waves are kicking.  We were humbled as we paddled out.  For months, our schedules have only allowed for surfing on the days when conditions are flat.  It was more more of a challenge to get out by the waves that I’ve experienced in a while, but I was grateful for that.

Despite the beautiful forecast predictions, the waves were still few and far between.  Most of them came around early in our session, which I think had to do with us dropping at low tide.  I don’t think either of us minded too much.  Even if we weren’t catching many waves, we spent more than two hours in the unseasonably warm water with the sunshine kissing our faces.  Nothing wrong with that, especially when a pod of dolphins is keeping you company all afternoon!

County Line at low tide, 3/8/2014.  We took all the waves for ourselves and didn't leave any for the afternoon crew.

County Line at low tide, 3/8/2014. We took the waves for ourselves and didn’t leave many for the afternoon crew.

Shortly after selling my car, a 2003 Honda CR-V which I affectionately called my Adventure Vehicle, I considered buying a scooter for quick jaunts around town.  I went to a scooter dealer after a surf sesh last summer to check some out.  I learned that a surfboard rack can be added to a new scooter.  Awesome!  I haven’t moved forward with a decision to get a scooter.  I am a little unsure on how well a long board would fit on a side rack during the 16-mile ride from Koreatown to Venice.  And what if I want to venture further to Malibu or beyond?  Would I be better off getting a car instead?  Maybe for the time being, I should just rely on the generosity of my friends to get me to the beach!

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