I surfed Linda Mar for about five hours on Sunday. For about eighty percent of the time, the waves were clean, the water was glassy and the wind was next to none. I surfed with the usual suspects, but they ended up leaving to O.B. for a second sesh and I decided to hang out and enjoy good ol' Linda on one of those five days a year when she actually has some decent waves.
I surfed North of the pump house. I caught a great head high right, a pretty good left and a bunch of dumping closeouts. That swell that everybody is talking about was definitely previewing itself. On one of the waves, I paddled for a left hander with this grom on a boogie board. I had the wave but pulled out and watched this grom roll down it, smiling ear to ear with his braces shining in the sun. The grom paddled back to where I was sitting. I looked at him and gave him props for a great ride. He had this pretty stoked look on his face. I gave him a proud look and paddled off to the north.
As I was paddling, I noticed the grom was following me. I stopped and asked the kid what his name was, he replied Isaac. Isaac looked like he was around twelve, husky and filled with stoke. We ended up hanging out for three hours, trading waves, laughing at the usual weekend Linda Mar circus, laughing at each other's wipeouts and just having a blast. At one point, I asked him if his mother taught him not to talk to a stranger. He replied back "Your not a stranger, your the B.D.!" LOL!
A good size set went off around thirty yards to the north of us. The set had a great looking wave that crashed perfeclty and offered an unridden curtain call to the right. Isaac looked over at me and said "Dude, that looked like a wave on that show 'Hawaii 5-0'!" The things kids say.
Isaac ended up leaving after a few hours. We both debated whether to leave or not, me needing to rest for work on Monday and him having tons of homework. I ended up telling him to go home before his mother gets worried. He agreed, smiled with his shining braces, caught a wave and boogie boarded to the shore. Great kid.
I ended up surfing a few more hours and met up with a friend of a friend who introduced me to a fella who was surfing in El Salvador the same time as me, but six hours south of El Tunco at a beach called Las Flores. Let's call him "The Slayer". We agreed that the waves were huge, thick and fast. He said he caught some rides of his life, raising his hands in barrels, touching the ceiling and witnessing walls the size of apartment buildings stretch into the horizon as he rode them into the sunset.
The Slayer said at first, it was pretty intimidating. He described broken boards and superstar groms from the States having "the fear" in their eyes. I told him I was pretty much on red alert the whole time too, skipping out on much of the swell. But then he said that he started getting used to the size and it ended up being really fun for him. I saw him in the lot after our session and asked him how he "got used to" surfing such huge waves. He said he had been surfing since he was three and regularly surfed bigger waves in the winter. Then he gave me this advice: "If you really want to get comfortable in bigger waves, you have to go out on the biggest days and just get worked and then after a while you'll just start thinking 'this ain't that bad!'."
|The Slayer showed me a picture similar to this where he was basically slaying a monster.|
So back to the present. The forecast says that we are suppose to have some pretty decent swell for the next week. I'm thinking I'm gonna take The Slayers advice, man up and get a piece of this monster. I've been working pretty hard on my fitness over the summer and now I feel physically confident that I can take on this endeavor. My heads back in place and I feel pretty confident with my balance and my ability to make the steeper drops. But it comes down to that "moment" when you paddle into a monster. You look down and you see that steep wall and either you go or you back off. But then again, there is no backing off, no hesitation when that moment comes. I learned that in El Sal when I caught the ride of my life. Since then, I've been telling myself "I did it once and I can do it again." When it all comes down to it, it's all about embodying the stoke of Isaac and the confidence of The Slayer. Let's do this.
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