Morning Wood

I pull into the parking lot, pay the guy at the gate and then find a spot for Fargo. Most mornings are a mess. Weekday, weekend, holiday, who knows. The crowd is always out there. Increasing exponentially as the day drags on. My earliest experiences were awkward. Where do I wait? How deep should I sit? Can I drop in on this kid? He looks like he knows what he's doing... Wait... No! He doesn't. Dammit!

High tide keeps the kelp from fucking with your fin, and also offers a fun inside section, where you can get waves if you wait. I slide my board out the back, slip into a short suit and walk down to the beach by myself. I knew no one those first few weeks. Surfing solo. I watched the old guys on the end snag some of that 'low and slow' stuff. And then a set would show up. Three, maybe four if we were lucky. Everyone at attention! Some people share. Some get upset.

This place gets a bad rap. Crowded with kooks, angry assholes and grumpy old guys. Sure some of that is true, but if you're willing to accept that you - like everyone else - is there for the same reason, it becomes better. Bearable. Dare I say... Fun?! Like Alex Swanson said to me in Seattle at the end of last summer, "I don't know why everyone gets so upset, we're all just playing in the ocean." Too true.

And so after a few months of surfing Malibu in the morning, I'd like to reflect on all the fun I've had, the waves I've caught and the people I've met. From Joel Tudor and Kassia Meador, to that old guy from Indiana, and the eye surgeon from San Clemente (who did not suck at surfing). Good people. Good times. I will also miss my morning routine: peanut butter toast, two Oreos, a cup of Cuban coffee and the 45 minute drive from Los Feliz to the lagoon. I'll even miss the mayhem. Sharing a wave with four or five people, dodging tourists, or blocking boards. And the ones I had on my own.... They were few and far between, tis true, but better than just about anything, or anywhere else. I'll be back, 'Bu. Promise.

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