Spring Break came and went. Did you spend it well? Did you milk it for all it was worth, suckling its sweet nectar until every drop was gone? Of course you didn’t. You went home, you sat on your ass for a week, you yelled at your mom to bring the meatloaf and you put a little umbrella in your drinks all week to make yourself feel exotic. It’s times like these, however, that you should’ve known better. The couch is as good a vacation as any for some, but as surfers we need to hold ourselves to a much higher standard.
If you are reading this, then odds are you are somewhere between 18 and 23 years old and dangerously close to overdrawing your bank account every time you buy so much as a pack of gum. On the upside, however, you probably also have the least responsibility you will ever have in your entire life – unless you aspire to be a pro surfer – so you can act like this for awhile.
What does this situation equate to? A road trip, that’s what. My mom never got around to making meatloaf and every time I looked at the little floral paper umbrella in my piña colada, it became less and less convincing that I was wild and adventurous. So I stood up, flipped over the couch cushion I was sitting on, took the change that lay there, leaving the pennies, and made a few phone calls. In no time at all, we had a crew of four including myself, two of my best surf buddies and a tall Asian fellow who had never surfed before, but needed a ride to Berkeley. He ended up being an invaluable addition to our crew of costal cruisers because we stayed at his house in Berkeley for two nights and he led us to the best donut shop on this planet and probably on any other for that matter.
We had one board each, some lunchmeat, pillows, wetsuits, just enough pot and one loaf of bread. The biggest expenditure was by far gas and, with a gallon getting terribly close to four dollars, the pumps had us by the balls, but there was no way around that. My memory of the actual trip is a little hazy considering it was more than 5 minutes ago, so I’m assuming this is how it went down. We left in the wee hours from my house in San Diego, sometime around 10 a.m. We packed the car leisurely, because we had nowhere to be except back at school a week later. The most crucial element of our plan was that we didn’t have one. We just knew we wanted to surf everywhere we could and we eventually had to end up in Berkeley.
What ensued were days of epic surf from Upper Trestles to Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz, lots of wandering and asking for directions and funky little food joints at every stop. Whether it was grinding icy nuggets in Santa Cruz or devouring sloppy piles of carne asada and tortillas at Chronic Tacos in Huntington, it was all fresh and stimulating. None of us had ever been to most of the places we went, so our semi-functional brains were on overload, soaking up these new places and fresh faces. In the end, we found ourselves at a donut shop in Berkeley at three in the morning, gazing at the glorious melted chocolate with a lazy euphoria, thinking that this was a far cry from the couch and mom’s meatloaf. It’s good to just get out there and go somewhere. It really doesn’t matter where or why you go, those are trivialities. What matters is who and when.
So next time you find yourself at home for any extended period of time, call your friends and hit the road immediately. Bring your board and leave the plan at home, because there’s a lot of road waiting for you and at least one donut shop open at 3 a.m.