C Street in Ventura is a fairly famous surf break. So Aegon Blutarsky and I conceived of getting up ungodly early on Sunday to go get in the water before it got too busy. It was too busy, and too far out of the way, for misskitty14
. Sorry about that! But I did get up at that ungodly hour, and I did regret it immediately, and with much passionate swearing. Still, after some logistical wrangling with my next door neighbor and Steve and myself, we got on the road, and drove up the PCH.
For those of you not fortunate enough to live in the beautiful city of Los Angeles, the PCH is the Pacific Coast Highway, a winding road that curves and soars right up the shoreline. We passed basically every surf break North of Venice, and Aegon described each of them, and under which conditions they were good and bad. He also talked in surfer-cant that I found obscure at best, and sometimes impenetrable. "Barreled" I get, but thrown out, cubed, and other terms I had to stop and get explanations for quite a bit. We drove by Malibu, Topanga, County Line, Zuma, Pescador, Matador - there were people in the water pretty much everywhere. But finally we arrived in Ventura, parked, and changed.
C Street is a very long break (here's a live cam of the water there
) - it's about a 1000 yards from the pier to the jetty, and the waves will sometimes break all along that length. As a result, a lot of people can get down in the water and still be spread out. It's a popular spot, and I see why. The surf was very low, hip-high at best, but even so plenty of people were getting up and having a good day of it. We had all brought longboards, and it was the right stick for the conditions - small, slow and mellow, but fairly steady. The water was blue-gray, like wet slate, and the sky overcast and grey - with hints of the sun peeking through thin layers of the clouds; limning the dark gray with flashes of golden brilliance. The water was cold. I mean, it's always cold, but it was colder than usual - but even though I had on a springsuit, I switched out to board shorts and rash-guard when my arms tired out. The waves break a long way from the shore, and it's a slow, lengthy ride back in, if you catch it. But you have to get up to speed to catch the wave, and with such low surf, that means getting going pretty fast. So you work your way out into the lineup, a long haul against a fairly strong rip. Then you turn right around and paddle all you're worth to catch a wave - and if you suck like I do, miss way more than hit. Then you've got to turn around do it again, or else catching breaking waves in your face while you bob in the deep water and get your breath. At one point I finally caught a steady solid wave - the board as stable as a sidewalk under me... and my arms were so tired, I just couldn't pop up! Man, I need to get in much better shape if I'm going to be good at this. Which I will, and I will.
Whatever the case, any day in the water is a good day. It was a good day, and I learned a lot. Like, for instance, hot surfer girls in bikinis go to Ventura, but not to Venice. Also that not sleeping for three nights in a row will make a grumpy monkey come Monday morning. That swapping leashes on boards in deep waters is hard, particularly when tired. That duck-diving on a longboard is a bad plan. That having ridiculously tight hamstrings from an ill conceived pilates workout two days prior makes waiting for waves painful. But most of all that any day on the water is a good day. By the time we packed it in, the sun was shining and the tide was falling, but there were even fewer people out on the water. Four hours in the water is a pretty long session, and I was very tired - but the best kind of tired. Can't wait to head out again!