The Pure Joy of Surfing

From my Imperial Beach and Coronado Patch columns from January 12, 2011.

The groms after their first session at Lowers.

The groms woke up early Saturday morning. Israel woke up first followed by Shane Landry, Jake Stutz and my youngest son Daniel. It was Daniel’s 13th birthday, and we celebrated with a surfari to Trestles.

By 6:30 the groms were in the lineup on a 3-4 foot day at Lowers.  The surf was firing. “It’s perfect,” Daniel yelled as I paddled by him.

A biting offshore wind whipped out of the Santa Margarita Mountains, east of Camp Pendleton, reminding me how lucky I was to be in my 4-3-2 toasty Matuse Hoplite and hood.

South Bay Union School District Board member and IB ripper Dave Lopez, his son Loukas along with Vincent Claunch, joined us in the lineup. Dave surfed in his new X-Cel 4-3 Drylock, which he said, “Keeps me almost dry.”

The Grom Squad had a blast. The inside waves peeled both left and right, were hollow and provided just enough face for awesome grom snaps and cutbacks.

Daniel attempts something...

I was able to test-drive my new Novak EPS-epoxy 6’6” squash quad (now called the “Potz” by the groms due to its lime green and electric orange colors) with new Futures “Rusty” lightweight foam hex core glass fins. The board and fins worked amazingly well.

As usual I sat just to the south of the hardcore local crew (who are always friendly). I snagged a few wave sets that swung wide and was able to push my new board to see what it could do on the perfect peeling rights.

In the lineup I said hello to International Surfing Association Director Bob Mignogna, who as a board member of the SIMA Environmental Fund is a big supporter of WiLDCOAST. I also chatted with Greg Hulsizer, the CEO of the Southbay Expressway about his homemade 5’6” min-Simmon’s hybrid that he ripped on.

After a solid three-hour surf, the south wind picked up and we headed back to San Diego. On the way home we stopped for a second session at Scripps Pier, where the sideshore and uncrowded A-frames provided a treat for the groms.

Saturday was the culmination of the best week of swell in about a month.

A clean northwest groundswell created lots of barrels in both Coronado and Imperial Beach. Due to the beach closure in the early part of the week in IB, I surfed Coronado last Wednesday and scored a few waves.

On Thursday IB was open and I surfed the south side twice with a small crew including Terry Richardson, Alex Ypis, Billy Huddleston, John Tolmosoff and Ben McCue.

Kyle Knox was out ripping and was recently featured on Surfline.com

Unfortunately, the quality of the waves was marred by the poor quality of the water.

“I surfed for more than two hours on Thursday and enjoyed the brief high pressure/no wind warm period,” said Jay Novak. “Later that day I came down with body aches and a flu type condition. By Friday AM the beach closure signs were back. That’s IB.”

Silver Strand Lifeguard Captain Mike Martino scored the session of the week.

“I took my five-year-old nephew Ian surfing at La Jolla Shores where it was low tide and 1-3 foot,” he said.  “When we saw the waves my nephew blurted out, ‘Uncle Mike the surf is great!’ After his last wave that was overhead for him, Ian said, ‘Uncle, Mike I rode the face the whole way.’ I rode eight waves with my nephew, never got off my belly and had one of the best surf days in a year.”

See you in the water.

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