So, yesterday I went surfing in the rain. It's not something I ever really pictured myself doing, since I always associated the beach with sunny days. But for the last week it had been perfect sunny weather and unfortunately, flat wave-less conditions. I had gone several times though since I have months off from work and plenty of time to kill. Also, the fact that I had just bought a cool long board from Bask, my homeslice and neighbor, had also made in imperative that I go in a lot. But the lack of ride-able waves created a hunger for bigger waves that I have never felt. I tend to be overwhelmed quickly by big surf because i have bad ears. My eardrums get hurt easily by the pressure of waves taller then myself and swimming under them doesn't help much.
Yesterday a storm rolled in and the waves and wind picked up dramatically in the afternoon. I rode my bike to the beach and was surprised to see that the spot was crowded, even in the grey stormy chop. I guess other surfers were wave starved as well. Not to mention that the recession has probably opened up more then a few schedules to weekday riding. Nothing really remarkable happened, there wasn't the appearance of dolphins or whales as there has been lately, and really, the rides weren't spectacular. i guess it was more or less the fact that we were all there, crowded into a 200 foot stretch of beach behind a stone jetty, weathering a storm in rough seas that made the moment memorable. The spirit of riding and the love of huge masses of water dumping over as they hit the end of their domain in a last ditch effort to show off their power.
It was also the feeling of the rain pelting my head and the waves coming in almost on top of each other. You never knew where the next one was coming from, how big it would be or if there was one right behind it. Essentially bobbing up and down constantly and never being still or catching your breath. On top of that, any wave I caught had two or three guys catching it at the same time so it was like bumper cars unless I let the wave pass (which i am learning to do via my homeboys, since its usually them I end up bumping into).
The rides were surprisingly fun though, since these waves were often large, but would have smaller waves right in front of them, so you might catch the upper part of the wave, and end up dropping down into another wave below it, and then catching two or three more breaks on the same ride since they were so broken up and random. It reminded me of the way Japanese painters represented waves in ancient times, like it had no order and was so crazy the waves had waves kind of like a perm hairdo.
Another thing that I loved about the experience was the way people looked at me, on the beach, and in the neighborhood. There are a lot of tourists in Venice and they tend to stare in admiration at surfers, but add a storm and rain and you get the look of absolute respect. You can see it in the face, they think you are crazy, but they also admire the courage and skill it must take to head down to the beach on a bike in a wetsuit and a board under my arm. On top of that, I was riding back on abbot kinney boulevard and ran into a friend of mine who lives in San Francisco. So at the moment where i was telling him how the fin on my board broke, i realized that at the same time last year i was huddling inside my NY apartment avoiding the cold and staring longingly at my barren snow covered backyard remembering what it was like in the summer for BBQs. We make our own lives, and I chose this one. I can't say that I have any regrets right now. Of course I miss home, but I will be there in March and I know it's not going anywhere and that the winter SUCKS. But i do miss taking a day to walk across the park and go to a museum.
I tried giving LA a chance as a city with culture by visiting LACMA for the first time. That was actually a successful day, the museum's collection and layout was very impressive....but I had to drive really far in traffic and I ended up getting towed, then being saved by my girlfriend who works nearby. Had she not been around i could have spent a ton of money on cabs and probably wouldn't have been able to get my car out of the pound that evening anyways since i made it with like 10 seconds to spare before they closed for the night...gotta love that. A city that has no workable transportation system towing cars from meter spots and then shutting down the pound at 7pm.
Yeah, you heard correctly, I parked at a meter spot, you know, where you pay to park and assume that since the machine took your money that you would be okay. I even looked at the sign and saw that it was 4 hour parking and it was 2pm, no mention on that sign about a Tow zone...that was on another sign on another pole about 50 feet down from the sign i checked. I put in enough money to last until 6pm and marched off joyfully to enjoy some art. Low and behold, LA is a magical city that has meter parking that suddenly becomes a tow away zone at 4pm. Something like that in NY is unheard of, and the signage would be crazy if it were because New Yorkers fight about that kind of shit all day long. But LA doesn't think it's necessary to put that info in like HUGE RED LETTERS. Instead, they let tourists fall into the 400 dollar trap (and it must be mostly tourists considering the fact that it was in front of the museums and la brea tar pits) I imagine they make a LOT of money from that and leave a bad taste in most peoples mouths, people who were just trying to see some culture in a vast barren desert of cultural waste.
I truly understand why so many people hate LA, I used to with a passion. Now I spend a lot of time defending it in conversations with people I know who don't live here. It's a city that doesn't behave well. From the police, to the drivers, to even the awkward and disdainful way Angelenos walk in crowds. It seems more like a town for people who don't actually want to live around other people. Thankfully, I don't care about that aspect anymore. I'm here for the work, the weather, and the waves. That's it brah.