Whenever it rains in Southern California, local surfers have a serious choice to make. Brave the storm and surf in the thick, brown, hepatitis-filled nugs, or sit your ass on the couch, fire up the PlayStation 2 and go nerd with some surfing games. It’s shocking how disgusting our water gets here in Isla Vista. A few weeks ago during the rain, I decided to chance it and go for a session behind my house, but this mistake was almost my last. As I walked down the beach I saw the confused look on the faces of the bums that seemed unimpressed by the hard rain as they sipped their tall boys of Icehouse and talked about something that I could not discern. Probably politics. One of them forgot the cardinal rule of the wind, which of course is to not piss into it.
I gazed at the scene for a few moments and considered popping open a beer with this rowdy bunch, but realized that I was braving the storm for more than just a beer. This was not going to be fun. This session was strictly business. I hadn’t surfed in way too long, and even though the waves were garbage, I had the itch. It took only a minute from when I paddled out to realize that this session was a mistake. I turned and looked up toward my house and noted that just below it and to the right was a pipe that was shooting run-off water from the street straight into the Pacific. In just a few rainy days the Pacific Ocean had turned from a gorgeous, sparkling blue beauty, to a filthy brown pirate wench that made me gag as I paddled out. You could even see the blue line near the horizon where the run-off hadn’t arrived yet.
As I took off on wave after wave of brown slop, I rapidly began to lose motivation. Just when all hope was lost, a beacon of hope was on the beach waxing his board. It was my downstairs neighbor, and I knew he would keep me entertained for a few more mediocre sets and then I could go in and sprint home to shower off the layer of juicy brown slop. We traded off on a few waves and discussed how we both knew that we would be sick in the next 24 hours. We had no idea how right we were. I woke up the next day steaming with a fever, and my neighbor stumbled up the stairs with his hands on his face, roaring in agony. He informed me that he had been puking all morning, but a bong load made him feel better. Welcome to Isla Vista’s rainy season. I was down for the count, only moving out of bed on occasion to nibble on some applesauce like an infant gobbling the airplane of Gerber Baby food.
This was a painful lesson in picking my battles with the Pacific, but it also raises some important questions. What do we allow to flow out into our oceans? What effect does our pollution of the streets have on our recreation in the water? I’m a pretty lazy individual, but these questions can rouse even the laziest surfer to do something different. Whether it’s attending a beach clean up, or just asking drunk people not to throw shit off my balcony. Our oceans are too important for us to let them become a cesspool of such filth that you can’t even surf for an hour without lying on your deathbed for a week. Let’s be cleaner, let’s be greener, and in all seriousness, let’s think of the dolphins. They are some of the only animals besides humans that have sex for fun, and we just choke them with our six pack rings or we grind them up in our canned tuna, which may make it more delicious, but it’s just not cool.
Okay, so probably many Isla Vista residents don’t give a shit about the dolphins, but think of my neighbor and I instead. Do you want us to choke on those six pack rings? Do you want us to catch ebola every time it rains? Keep I.V. beaches clean, and I’m sure next time you’re at Sea World the dolphins will be more than happy to do a backflip or something to show their appreciation. Or if you see me, I’ll give you a cold beer. Trust me, it’s worth it.