Ah yes, spring is in the air. The time of year when the Budweiser flows like water, miniskirts regain their dominance in the on-campus fashion scene and it is socially acceptable to attend class in your bathing suit. There’s only one problem with the otherwise perfect Santa Barbara weather: there are no waves.
After 10 weeks of braving frigid water to catch the larger swells that hit southern California in the winter, Isla Vista surfers mourn the fact that bikini weather means the end of rideable waves and the beginning of lounging on the beach every day.
That’s not to suggest there’s anything wrong with lounging on the beach, but if you’re like me and live for getting wet every once in a while (keep your dirty jokes to yourself you horny little rascal), you’re probably turning as cuckoo as those guys outside of the Michael Jackson trial. So, to ease your pain, here are a few suggestions to liven up your ocean-going lifestyle when the water flattens out.
My first suggestion is to swallow your pride and invest in sponge board or a soft-deck longboard. Sure you won’t look as cool carrying it down the beach as you would with your brand new C.I. fish tail, but you’ll get over that as soon as you realize you can actually catch the smaller waves without making your shoulders explode. Everyone in the water sacrifices a little bit of his or her image when riding ankle-slappers, so you might as well leave your ego on the beach and learn to have fun just goofing off in the water.
Another underappreciated water activity is snorkeling. No waves plus no wind is usually a recipe for crystal-clear water. If you’ve ever been out at Devereux in such conditions, you probably know what I’m talking about. The kelp beds offshore from the point are home to an abundance of funny-looking ocean critters including sharks, rays, jellyfish, starfish and a variety of fish species. If you’re the type for nature appreciation, all you need is a mask, a snorkel and a pair of fins (Sportmart has a package deal for about $30) and the same wetsuit you use for surfing.
Possibly one of my favorite non-surfing ocean pastimes is floating. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the recipe is pretty simple. Procure an item that floats (i.e. a raft, inner tube or small boat), launch it from the beach and start floating. This is usually more fun when you’re accompanied by a good buddy and a 12-pack, but even a sober floating trip can add a whole new dimension to the standard sunbathing session.
No matter what your flat-water pastime of choice, the point is to never stray too far from the ocean. This will keep you sane as well as on top of your game if a rogue west swell does happen to show up on the shores of I.V.