Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Me!

Labor Day marks the four-year anniversary of me and surfing in California. I remember that first Labor Day after I'd scoured the Internets for How-tos and Rules and traveled up and down PCH looking for a used board. (Even then I knew what I wanted, although I didn't have the vocabulary to say what it was.) After going up to Malibu and hopping into stores and came back to be more gas efficient about finding a board by calling down the phone book listings looking for an 8-foot longboard in the $200 range, I decided to take a walk in my neighborhood to get some smokes (oh, those days). I decided to check out the mod-looking Board Gallery (which moved to Lincoln Blvd. this year).

I'd walked by the shop maybe a hundred times before, and after a day of unsuccessfully finding a board, 20 miles away, I found the perfect thing right across the street. They showed me the back room where stacks of used boards hung out. I didn't know it then, but I was looking at some classic boards that cost five times what I was looking to spend. He showed me an 8'6" longboard that had just come in on consignment for a little over $200... it had a neon orange nose and an art deco blue fade through the middle to a white round pintail and three fins. (A pintail with a slight bump at the rails with glassed-on thruster set-up, I was later to find out.) There was a big Rx logo and Ray told me the board was about 10 years old, signed at the stringer by the shaper... Jeff "Doc" Lausch.

Yup. That was my first Doc. I took him up to County Line (which I didn't know was called County Line) on Labor Day. I stayed out of the other surfers way like I'd read in the How Tos and Rules, and I died.

For the next month or so, I'd die on the weekends at Venice, walking my board to the beach, and again at County. Then I started dying on the weekdays, too. On one driving excursion, I rolled into what is now known as the "home break." I think what made me stay there is what makes a lot of people start there... the convenience. Parking and easy walk-out. Three days a week turned to every morning. Sometime, between paddling the distance of six lifeguard towers and back and just turtling through some hairy autumn close-outs, I stopped dying and started catching waves.

Lordy, I loved that board. RIP at overhead Topanga and Doc Lausch made me a 9'0" version with slightly down rails, hard at the tail with the bump and round pin. Lordy, I love this board! And I do believe I'm getting verklempt about how we had a great anniversary today with peaky shoulder-high stuff and all the family under the sun.


Chad said...

Happy anniversary and I just wanted to stop by to say that you have one of the most enjoyably readable blogs in the surfer blogosphere. Some nice work here.

reverb said...

...seems that you do a fine learning curve...

cheers baby

gracefullee said...

Thanks guys.

I can definitely say I'm always going to be learning curvey.