Being a surfer at UCSB sometimes leaves you feeling trapped. Like a canary in a coalmine, we are suffocated by flat spells throughout the spring and summer months. This is simply the way things are, and unless you have enough dynamite to blow the Channel Islands into small granules of sand, then it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. So should we sit around and drink beers on the beach during those months, complaining about the lack of surf while secretly enjoying our insubstantial beach bum lives? Maybe, and this is much more likely than what I am about to suggest, but if you are over the beacon of mediocrity that is our surf scene, then just leave.
Is it really so crazy? I think not. When things aren’t going your way, then sometimes you just have to get the hell out of Dodge. The best part of this epiphany is that you don’t even have to transfer to the University of Hawaii, only to get snaked by locals, or hang out with filthy hippies at UC Santa Cruz just kidding — peace, love, and all that shit fellas). You can actually accomplish this while enrolled at our astute institution by heading over to South Hall and popping into the second floor for a gander at what the rest of what planet Earth has to offer.
The Education Abroad Program helps students every year in their quest to embrace unique cultures, see beautiful new lands and of course look out from firing foreign barrels. The list of programs offered by the EAP almost looks like a list of surfing’s greatest hits, with locales such as South Africa, Chile, Barbados, Costa Rica, Brazil and Australia. That’s right I said Australia. We all secretly want to go to an English-speaking country where we finally get to be the ones with enticing foreign accents that hold strange sex appeal. I know this is true because I once knew a UCSB student who adopted an accent for one night that indeed ended with female companionship. Not so surprisingly, he is studying abroad as you read this.
However, that is neither here nor there. The truth is that studying abroad is an incredible opportunity that could offer the best waves you will find in this lifetime, and to say that the waves are the best part would be like saying Christmas would be just as fun without presents. There is a whole world of unique cultural nuances and mind-altering experiences that accompany any of the EAP destinations.
In all honesty, I think the greatest tragedy that could befall any UCSB surfer would be to stay at UCSB all four years without putting him/herself in a metal-winged tube and being flung into the fray of the foreign for at least one semester. I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but I don’t plan on getting pegged as a hypocrite by not throwing myself somewhere off American soil next fall. As a matter of fact, I plan on going to the land of milk and honey that some people call Brazil, in spite of the jujitsu master locals that will likely be fond of neither my blond hair nor whatever pathetic excuse for elementary Portuguese I attempt to use to get myself out of an ass beating.
Who knows what situations you will find yourself in when you are in a place like Brazil, or any of the EAP countries for that matter. That’s the inspiring beauty of studying abroad, and there is no reason to fight that romantic desire that we all have to explore this planet and meet new people who can crack open our minds to things we could never find at home. Or you could stay here, with the flat spells and the tar balls, wondering what Portuguese sounds like.
Daily Nexus surf columnist Todd Prodanovich is ready to head south and surf La Salsa Brava.