It’s a brave and depraved new world, and as the earth rotates relentlessly about the sun, we are brought face-to-face with a new school year and a new surf column. This column should have been written twice by now, but it hasn’t, and the reason for that is the same reason that a lot of things just don’t happen in Isla Vista. Freshmen, consider this fair warning. The reason I was unable to write this column in the previous weeks is the same reason that I slept through surf team tryouts last Sunday; this town sucks you dry.
It pierces your neck with its long glossy canines that haven’t been brushed in God knows how long, and sucks the sweet life nectar from your jugular until you find yourself in your bed, opening your eyes for the first time that day to an alarm clock that has been ringing for hours. Don’t get me wrong, I love this place more than any other, but I hate it equally so, and I’m sure those third- and fourth-year students know exactly where I’m coming from. This town is heaven for a surfer, as you can walk, bike or skate to the beach from any part of Isla Vista in minutes or seconds, and with such a minimal travel commitment, there is little reason to ever say no to a quick surf session. However, you can also walk, bike or skate to any party in Isla Vista in a similar amount of time, so why would you ever say no to a quick beer or two… or 12?
This is where the plot thickens for UCSB surfers, and this is why I have driven to Rincon Point on a Saturday morning, seen pumping, head-high waves and decided to sleep in the car for another hour before attempting to actually put on a wetsuit. This is a common occurrence, and couple the normal shenanigans with the aftermath of attending a concert in L.A. the previous night and you have the reason I hibernated through surf team tryouts. I wish the team and all those less pathetic than myself in the a.m. hours good luck this year. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even paddle out a single time this weekend, and it was surely the best weekend thus far this year.
Does this make me a kook? Absolutely. The right way to handle this situation would be to retire my sea legs and send all my surfboards to little Balinese children who will actually put them to use, and probably rip harder than I do after a few months anyway. All I would ask for in return is a rad T-shirt when they get sponsored by the companies I throw all my money at, anyway. There is really never an excuse to miss head-high sets at Rincon, even if you’re hungover to the point where the inside of your skull is a bowling alley where some tiny man is perpetually bowling strikes. I hate that man, but it’s not his fault, it’s ours.
So I will sadly say, all of you incoming freshmen who thought that living in I.V. was the perfect opportunity to surf all the time and improve your game, you were wrong. It’s more of an opportunity to forget any and all of the contents of your bag of tricks.
The truth, however, is that it doesn’t have to be like this. The ratio of good waves to good parties is incredibly skewed. If there were as many good days of surf as good nights of parties, then we all know that Santa Barbara would have been firing all day, every day since the 1960s.
So, all you ambitious groms out there who refuse to allow your surfing to deteriorate in these coming years, you have a chance. Just get your act together and don’t rage your face off when you know the waves will be cracking in the morning. Play your cards right and you may still shred, even in the a.m., and you won’t have to worry about me snaking you. Because although I love to surf, I really like the snooze button.