Saturday, April 18, 2015

It is always good to come home.

It is not like I had traveled particularly far, nor for particularly long.  But I did spend much of the latter part of March taking my son up to the mountains for a few boys trips to get our ski on.  In case you did not know already, coverage is pretty damn thin this year.  With the drought and all.  But seeing he is not quite yet four, he was not too worried about the dirt, bush and rocks poking through the thin layer of slush.  In fact, he rather enjoyed it.  So, when we had our window, we took it.  I might have missed a few surf days here and there, but not really too many.  Then, for the first week in April, I was down in Palm Desert on a family vacation to visit with my parents.  We actually had a pretty damn awesome hike out near Mecca in some box and slot canyons.  And I did get a day in surfing Lowers.  More on that later.  But it just feels so damn good to be back home in Santa Cruz.

(Pictures do not really tie into the story, but rather were from a pretty damn fun swell in February.  In Santa Cruz.)

Always a great place to hang out at low tide to explore the tide pools, and get some truck time in.

Especially when the surf is going.  Just another head high wave.

I just love it when the waves come staking in.

A few always seem to sneak through riderless.

And occasionally, the left on the south side of the cove will offer up this certain left.

Sometimes it is hard to catch.

There really are a number of reasons.  After several trips at elevation, and then nearly a full week in the desert, I returned home feeling like a dried fig with every ounce of water drawn out of me.  I mean, I did drink an awful lot of water, but I seemed to return home with a new sort of long term dehydration.  My nose can still feel it and I have been home for a week.  But, man, my body is just that much more normal.  Not to mention my son's skin.  It is nice to live in a proper climate.  Never quite too dry, or too humid, nor to warm, or too cold.  Proper.  And during the wintery months that can often mean near perfect weather.  Especially during a drought.  I just love the 70s, when the wind is slight and the sun is shining.  Not to mention that we have a legitimate winter swell hitting this weekend.  So many things that make it nice to be back home. 

Occasionally, really good things happen to you.

Especially if you are patient.

Sooner or later it feels like the whole world is giving you a hug.

Often it is just nice to stand there and take it all in.

Other times, you need to slow it down.

Of course, if we are not careful, we will miss the train.

Another thing though might loom bigger.  Have you ever notice how many people there are in California.  Many of them going from one place to another.  On the roads.  The same road you are on.  I mean, where the hell are all these people headed?  Not that there is not traffic right here in town, but it seems, at least if you give it a thought, you can avoid it by not heading to certain places at certain times.  Not quite as easy once you get in the interstates surrounding and heading out from the Bay.  Not to mention the entire cluster that is nearly the entirety of Southern California.  It really hit me as we were driving south through Lancaster, in the Antelope Valley, behind a fairly significant mountain range from the Los Angeles.  We were driving through the high desert, in the middle of no where, when suddenly we were in a city of half a million people.  And we were in the middle of nowhere.  Actually, though, a pretty nice route to the Palm Springs region, bypassing most of the greater LA area, and dropping south, out past San Bernardino.  But, yeah.  Cars.  Roads.  The second night I was back in town, I headed out for a sunset surf.  I live right in town.  Drove to a point five miles from my house.  It took seven minutes.  That same distance can take an hour in some places.

While the surf is not exactly lonely, it is rarely is a traffic jam.

Perhaps, more importantly, is is often not too small.

On this particular day, we had a bonus.  We got buzzed by tow of these guys.

For a moment, I thought North Korea had engaged.

Several people actually duck for cover.

Same guy, same wave.

Like, seriously, dude, this wave was roping.

Like, say, in and around Oceanside and Carlsbad.  Holy molasses.  My son wanted to visit Legoland, so we took the drive up and out of the desert, over the mountains and down to the coast.  After dropping off my family, I turned north and headed fro the Trestles zone.  It was probably a better day to stick around the Oceanside harbor with the small, weak wind swell.  Yet, I choose otherwise.  I got to Lowers around 10:15, and the surf was anything but inspiring, but there were fewer than ten people in the water.  And I figured, that as the tide filled in, and the wind came up on its back, the crowd would thin even more.  At least that is what happens at home.  Not so much in the south with 14 million people in LA and San Diego Counties.  By 12:30, there were twenty in the water, with twenty more suiting up on the beach.  With the waves swamped, and the bump up, it was time to go.

It was fun watching these things come in.

The crowd was not too thick, but the competition was fierce.

It takes just the right conditions for this closeout to turn into a reeling wave.

It sure offers up a good amount of boost.

Of course, out front did not look too shabby.

But in the end, I had been in the water, I knew which wave I would have been sitting on.

That second night back home I mentioned early.  Remember that?  That night as I walking from my car, across a farm, to the water, I began to think how much more I enjoyed this stroll than the one down to Trestles.  A quite farm, with a view of the Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Not going under a Freeway, and along a housing development.  Then, I got a view of the point.  It looked pretty crappy, actually.  I was glad I had my egg along with me.  Sure, the waves were bigger than the day at Lowers, but the shape was not quite as nice.  Sure, it was head high slop, but the waves were peeling.  And there was not twenty, or ten, or two others to share it with.  I had this crap all to myself.  It sure felt nice to be back home, where I can go out on a piss poor day and not have to share it with anybody else.  In fact, when one other guy showed up, it took twenty minutes before we were both out at the peak together.  We just had kept swapping waves.  Yeah.  That is nice.

Back home, it is nice to find that comfortable seat.

Back to the shack.

Sitting nicely into the pit.

The peaks were hucking.

The barrels were this big.

Not that I really like crappy surf.  But being a dad, you take the windows you get.  On the other hand, I headed to that same point just yesterday when a fresh 8@17 WNW was hitting.  Waves were running in the 8-10 foot range along the point.  Nothing special, nothing epic.  No long barrel sections.  No below sea level bowls.  No vertical roping lines.  But it was overhead, thick, juicy and long, with plenty of opportunities for big, open face carves.  Just good, ole Santa Cruz surfing.  Just another reason why it is good to be home.  Oh, and I shared that goodness with way fewer then ten.