I wish I got up at the crack every day to charge it, but I
What it has boiled down to is me scoring when I catch that
perfect window of opportunity — good waves, blowoff-able
or nonexistent commitments for the next couple of hours, the
ambition to do something with my procrastinating ass. The rest
of the time, I can get touchy if you ask me about the surf. So I’m
taking this last column to impart some of the positive lessons
I’ve learned in my time here, rather than harp on any longer.
If you’re believing the rankings, we’re living in heaven. Surfer
Magazine just named UCSB the best college in the nation to
attend as a surfer, based on its proximity to the beach, wave
quality and the school’s academics (I’m sure Isla Vista’s raucous
streets didn’t hurt its grunge appeal). We even beat out San
Diego, with its far more consistent surf. So what the hell have
I been complaining about all year? Nothing, apparently. Ya’ll
need to find a new columnist.
My surf angst is a self-imposed problem, since I’ve been
foolishly stacking my schedule into a dirty trap for too long. I’m
frequently bitter about not surfing, which works to the opposite
of the intended effect and just further disenchants me.
That’s why I’m so thankful for the friends and surfers who
have chided me for not surfing at times when I lost my spark.
Luckily, “Let’s go surf!” seems to do it most of the time.
The bonds that come with sharing a dawn sesh, the shock of
a wipeout, the enjoyment of a salty snot-rocket, the dance that
accompanies pulling on a wet wetsuit, the hairy hike down a
rocky cliff in pursuit of waves — those are some of the strongest
I’ll ever forge.
Sure, there are waves in SB. And there’s just so much
coastline, right there. If you’re really itching, an hour drive south
to Ventura or north towards Jalama can provide the fulfillment
you need, and you’ll find that tube. When it fires in Santa
Barbara, you can find that section with the slab blanket to cover
yourself with that’ll make everything better.
As a surfer, getting tubed is the ultimate. While most tube
rides rarely measure more than a few seconds apiece, tops,
there’s this surreal vigor spirit that surges through your body
when that watery roof begins to cover you from view. Your soul
asks you, “Is this for real? Are we really here?”
I’ve spent a miniscule, ecstatic portion of my life surfing in
the tube. Tubes are rare and not for the tame. But as I reflect on
my surf experiences in hopes of providing some kind of sum-up,
I can think of no better surf occurrence than getting barreled.
Riding on the ocean, all you can see is a glassy sheet of water
cascading to one side, making a window to the sky and land.
It’s the perfect union of person and ocean. When it does
happen — that fanciful combination of wind, swell, location
and tide which create a hollow, semiroofed “tube” section at the
back of a wave — you won’t forget.
The nug gods can be fickle and rarely provide us with their
most decadent gifts. But surfing isn’t a sport of absolutes. You
can mix it up. Change your style, change your stance, change
your location, change your mindset. By that time, the waves will
roll in, or you’ll have made some.
Daily Nexus surf columnist Elliott Rosenfeld will be riding a
wave of inadequacy on the path to graduation this June.