Another afternoon session in Manhattan fog: not quite as clean as yesterday. I was getting bord of the mushy closeouts and was thinking of heading home when a little boy asked me with wide eyes, “are you sponsored?!” as if being sponsored was equal to immortality. With I smile I said, “No. Are you?” My board doesn’t have stickers, I don’t do contests and I am by no means overly talented. However, this question was so cute it just made my day.
From Porto to PV, I have spent the past few years observing the unique traits of the South Bay’s Alpha Surfer. When I paddle out, I am not surprisingly outnumbered by testosterone, young and old. I have focused my study in the beastly cliffs and coves of Palos Verdes where Alpha Surfers roam freely. Known for their pride and power, their call is unmistakable and utterly unique. You can find them hollering at each other, marking the territory of the waves they have claimed. A simple sound can communicate a surprisingly complex statement for this species. During my time of observation, I have marked a few common calls of the Alpha Surfer that translate as follows.
“Heyheyhey” – I see you taking off in front of me. I am right behind you and am not intimidated by your squatty kook stance.
“Yew!” – I respect that you were able to catch that wave you are currently riding on and that you stay out of my way. We can form a pack alliance to protect waves for ourselves against the lesser species of the kook.
“ShhetShhet” – Submit to my authority or you may regret it.
“Errah” – Feel my fierce roar of intimidation, in spite of that wave is just missed. Do not mistake me for a kook, I am still an Alpha Surfer and to be respected.
While the South Bay Alpha Surfer prefers to use there calls and other various methods of inter-water communication, I prefer to glide by quietly, listening to the calls of the wild. I can burn just as many people with a simple smile.
Not sure why this person picked the most hazardous industrial area to represent the city. Love it anyway.
We all dream of leaving. Most of us tend to think if we lived in an exotic place, overseas, our storybook existence would be come a walking reality where woodland creatures really do sing and no one ever has to go to do real work. I will never put a halt in my plans of owning a art cafe in Maui, or stop scribbling the blueprints for my tree house in Costa Rica or saving for my trek through India. However, sometimes I start to drown in the depths of wanderlust and need to come up for fresh air. Once I surface, thoughts of elsewhere drip from my ears and I wipe the salty daydreams from my eyes, I notice that it is not all so bad here.
I get up extra early, because that part of the day when it is still not quite light is the most exciting and full of unknown and smells like vacation. After a good surf at the spot I know and love, I walk to my dear friends house for breakfast. Buttoning up my brightest Hawaiian shirt and cut off Levi shorts, I grab a disposable camera and ride my bike along the strand, stopping to buy churros or cruse through a farmers market and run into an old friend that invites me to join him in his evening adventures. I can let the whole day become invented and paint it as wildly as the watercolor in my fictional future. I think that some people dream of living here too.
Sometimes I get an ache of wanderlust, but I love where I live.
Some of us have to manufacture seasons in order to make up for that internal need to change throughout the year. Starbucks sells out of the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the mall is littered with people wearing scarves with shorts. All year, I wait for Fall. For a nice West ground swell, the not too cold/not too hot weather and glassy conditions. Right now my schedule is changing, my life is changing and I am changing, but there is a rhythm and rhyme that runs with the seasons. I can remember each Autumn from the last few years: the swells and weather patterns, how I have changed and how I have stayed the same. Los Angeles may not have many leaf piles to jump in or cute warm coats, but we find Fall, one way or another.