Ok, maybe Eric has a tendency to be dramatic and I probably wasn’t going to actually die. But I thought that my shit was toast and I wasn’t alone. (Don’t worry, I’ll update you about my penis later.)
And so it goes…
My neighbor and I have been watching swell patterns from Baja to Santa Cruz searching for the biggest waves within a days drive. And we found just that at Santa Cruz. We arrived late the first day and drove up and down the coast scouting the heaviest wave to surf the following day. We found that wave at Pleasure Point. At the time, it was breaking bigger than anywhere up the coast. So we woke up, put on our cold water gear, and headed to the water. It was still going off. The smaller waves were about shoulder to head high with most sets of waves coming in overhead. Pleasure point breaks in a very specific way. The wave comes in as a fat lump and then in a second goes vertical and begins folding over itself. It leaves little room for error. I have been nursing a torn muscle atop my ribs for a week and knew I wasn’t 100%. But I had decided that no matter what, I was going on this trip and I was going to try. Here is Pleasure Point as viewed from the sky.
You can see the surfers waiting off to the bottom left side. And if you follow the darker color on the ocean floor, you can pretty much see how the waves breaks off the floor and into A JAGGED CLIFF SIDE OF ROCKS. Keep in mind that those sand areas that you see in this picture did not exist that day. So I go for my third attempt of the day, and I’m 100% committed. I almost get to my feet but don’t make it down the face. I fall and the wave falls on top of me. I’ve certainly been rag-dolled worse but I was under for a little while. My travel compadre gets a better view than me from deeper water and sees that the wave I just took is the smallest of another 8ish waves coming behind it. Each one getting progressively bigger. He turns and sprints towards the horizon barely making over the lip of each successive wave. He’s the only one that makes it. Each wave that comes forces me off my board and drags me swiftly to the cliffside. After two or three waves I know that this situation could get very bad, very quick. Another guys leash snaps and he’s now alone without a surfboard to help him. He’s screaming for help. But his friends are fighting their own battle, as am I. I remember a conversation we had at the motel this morning about how we needed to make sure to ask where you got out of the water. We had forgotten.
Another waves drags me towards the rocks, rips my board from under me, and I fall into fearing-for-my-life panic. I frantically start swimming, sans surfboard, and I have to stop myself. I take a deep breath and force myself to regain my composure. I know that my only option is to swim off to the right and make it around the corner. I know that there is deep open water around the corner. I pull my board under my stomach and I begin to paddle full throttle. I have completely forgotten about my torn muscle. Finally, I make it out of the worst zone and begin to feel a rip current pulling me faster to the right. That was the first moment where I knew that everything was going to be ok. The rip pulls me far out into the next break that you can see off the to right in the picture. I drifted another 1/4 mile down the coast line before I found a staircase.
I exit the water and adrenaline is dripping out of my ears. My heart and lungs slow a bit as I walk back to let my buddy know I’m alive and for the first time I feel my rib. It’s not good and I realize that my trip is over. That’s it. All that emotional energy turns to anger and I look like a crazy person pacing back and forth cursing. But Santa Cruz is a lot like Venice so no one really pays me any attention. I knew I was good enough to make that wave; I knew that I was leaving empty handed. I eventually find my friend who’s very pleased to see that I’m alive and well. All in all I think it took about an hour or so for me to really calm down.
I have the skill to make those waves and had my body been 100% I would have turned around and gotten right back in the water. But here’s where I fucked up. I guess you can’t live on burritos, pizza, burgers, peanut m&m’s, and ice cream, and then expect to take on expert level surf. I mean they were holding a surf competition just down at the next break the following day. I’m attributing the original cause of my injury to the fact that I’ve been surfing an average of 2.5 hours a day, with some days exceeding 5 hours, and barely stretching ever. Lets be a reasonable human being and put 2 and 2 together here. It’s time to stop being a glutenous slag and get my act together. I’m still pissed… or motivated… or whatever you want to call it, I want that wave or another one equally as vicious. Hopefully, with this new found hunger, I can take my life a little more seriously without having some sort of emo freak out.
Also I’m happy to say that my penis is in good health and will have a post coming out soon about some fun lessons I learned while changing it up.
Here are some pics
This is my buddy on a wave that’s well overhead.
This is me looking emo as I watch guys surfing Pleasure Point the next day
This is a gigantic set that came in at Steamers Lane