With Whom do You (Dare to) Share… stories of surf trips, where you went and when you started (better trips start pre-dawn, the best end well after sunset), who you went with, why you went (forecasts, buoy reports, some vague longing), road conditions (traffic holdups, police pull-overs, pit stops), perfect (or not) conditions, perfect (or not) waves; waves ridden (estimated number and exaggerated size), selected awesome rides, memorable wipeouts; interesting (or irritating) people encountered, car problems (or not); where you stopped (coming and going), what you ate; and, most importantly, where you’d rank this trip in the banked memories of however trips you’ve taken?
I have actually been thinking about this a while. For most of us, who we share our adventures with (and don’t even claim to have never even wanted to share something about that surprise barrel you got on an inside section of what you had thought was going to be a closeout), comes down to who you trust not to share this exciting info with someone who will blab it around, or worse, someone undeserving.
If you’ve learned, over years of skunkings and scorings, under which conditions this spot or that spot has worked in the past; accumulated anecdotal information, what you have is, actually, data. DATA.
BLABBERS and the UNDESERVING: Why the fuck would you want to give this DATA to some person who hasn’t put in the miles and the hours in the search? Why would you tell someone you’ve just met at some beach where the waves aren’t happening that they just might be breaking at…?
Because surfers ask. Because they want to know. The same surfers who ask what you know might just show up at the beach you mentioned, paddle up just inside of you in the lineup, and say, “MY WAVE!”
That’s the fear. It has happened.
“Erwin… told me it’d be good.” “Yeah, that’s where I heard it.” “My wave!”
SO, HERE I AM, with my (desperately) tiny little website, started as a platform on which to write about surf adventures years and miles away (before I became aware that I have another surf life here and now), and I’m restricted from recounting all the shit from the first paragraph because of the then-listed reasons. Mistrust and a certain desire to not add to the folks in the lineup the next time I go.
SO (I’m trying to go through this with some sort or sense of logic), my not blabbing is the result of PEER PRESSURE and a certain amount of GREEDINESS.
BUT, I sort of learned what not to say, what not to show, over time. Yeah, at first, I did write about where I went, what I found. I named spots and conditions. NO. NOPE. In fact, I wrote, years ago, about my first session at a very fickle spot. It was published in the local newspaper. Every surfer who was out that day, and many who weren’t had something to say next time we met up (at another beach or, yes, at a grocery store or pumping gas). Mostly it was, “You can’t put that out there,” and, “Hey, did you see that one ride?”
NOW, MAYBE, it’s clear that I’m not going to even say there are even (ever) waves on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (from hereon referred to as SoJdF, you’ll see why), I suddenly have been made aware (suddenly because, evidently, despite having a mouth for sarcasm, I don’t have an ear for it) that, maybe it’s not okay to mention that there are ever, EVER, any good waves at (in this case) WESTPORT and/or (by extension) SEASIDE, and/or (by further extension) ANYWHERE. NO WAVES. NOWHERE. NOHOW.
Oh, maybe somewhere over the rainbow. OZ. No, not that OZ. No waves. Never. And, I hear, it’s always crowded.
HERE’S THE COMMENT I misinterpreted, from PWA (not his or her real name, I am assuming) in response to my piece, “Sometimes Westport is an Option”: “I was wondering if you had any pictures you could share of those epic empty spots that line Washington’s northern coast. Just asking.”
I wrote back: “Wait. Checking. Checking.”
Then, after I’d posted “Cougar- Northwest Spirit Animal, plus…”, PWA wrote, and this is his punctuation: “Be honest im sure you had plenty time to consider the personal ramifications of publishing photos of the epic surf spots of lining SOJDF (see, told you, SoJdF is how I’ll now, forever, present it). That was a very nice day at WP and you know the internet these days. So put 2 and 2 together and just because its not your locale try keep on things the DL (Trish told me this means ‘downlow’) a little more thats all I ask.”
SO PWA, OKAY. AND, UM, THANKS. I guess I thought Westport wasn’t a secret spot; that it was fair game for mentioning by name. AND, in my defense, I thought I suggested, at least, that it’s usually not anywhere near epic. I hope no one went to Westport with unrealistic expectations because of something I wrote. Sidenote: I get Stats from WordPress; and, to date, nothing on realsurfers.net has ever gone viral. Oh, there was a cough, once, but it may have been a mistake.
MEANWHILE, up until 1979, and a few times after, there were waves at places like Swamis, Sunset Cliffs, P.B. Point, Crystal Pier, Windansea, Pipes, Grandview, Ocean Beach, Oceanside (pier and harbor, and in-between), Swamis (upper, lower, middles, church), San Onofre, Cardiff Reef, Blacks…
ALSO, I do have a story I’m dying to tell, conflict and conquest and waves and all. I’ve already passed it on to a few of the people I trust. Good story. OKAY, the takeaway is this: None of us own waves; we’re blessed to ride a few. OH, and don’t ever call my friend (name withheld) a kook. KOOK.
IN CONCLUSION: Surfers love to tell stories. If you meet me at some beach or grocery store or gas station, and you convince me you can be trusted, I might tell you about that super secret spot that doesn’t ever, EVER have waves. IF you believe you can trust me, tell me about any spot I’ll never even attempt to go to, and… no, no reason to trust me. Or, maybe I’ll tell you about the last time I checked out Westport.
It was crowded AND shitty.