Monday, March 18, 2013

The Allure of the Not-So-Secret Spot

I get to surf once a week, usually a Saturday or Sunday, the same two days most of humanity comes out to surf. To make matters worse, humanity seems to converge on the same few spots and this makes for a really crowded, frustrating experience. If I want to sit in a sea of humanity and get really frustrated on a day off, I can do that at the DMV or the mall. I never look forward to going to those places. Why would it be any different on a surfboard? I want to look forward to going surfing. 

It's because of this that I find myself going to spots humanity doesn't care to surf. They aren't secret spots by any means. They're just off the beaten track. You can't check them from the highway. There are no webcams showing you the conditions. They're more fickle and therefore less popular. They aren't spots you go to be seen, to be noticed, to be cool. Instead these are the spots you go to be alone with your thoughts. You go to get in the water and wash off all the crap that accumulates in your life while on land. Sure, the waves may be smaller, mushier or close out more often. The beach may be harder to get to and the lull between sets may be longer once you get there. But these spots are also less crowded. You can let waves go by. You can try new moves. Work on fundamentals. Be a kook. You can do all of these things at a crowded spot but humanity will notice. Humanity will drop in on you, snake you, spray you and all around disrepect you. Not my idea of a good time.

Don't get me wrong. I wish I was more patient or more aggressive. I wish I could sit in the pit, exert my place in the hierarchy, terrorize groms, all the stuff that established locals do. But I'm not so I don't. And I'm okay with that. I'm happier with the peace and quiet I get sitting at an empty break. The thrill of riding a wave seems more pure, more special, more thrilling. And because you don’t have to compete for waves, you can feel that thrill more often. In my book, more waves means more fun.

So don't be a snob. Spend more time searching for a surf spot and less time searching for a parking spot once you get there. There's fun to be had off the beaten track, at a not so secret spot that isn't hard to find. Go!

Until next time, may your waves be head high and glassy.