Haven’t had your surf fix for a while? Considered doing something risky? We ask an ex-pro surfer is it ever worth risking your life for surf? He wants to remain anonymous – you’ll find out why below.
Lack of summer swell
There’s been no waves in Southern California recently. It’s mid-summer and this extended lull in ocean energy is an annual occurrence. It’s expected.
Besides highly publicised southern swells that rarely swing into the region – and crowd every peak – summer surfing in California is like paddling for chop in a reservoir.
So, when I ran into a buddy the other day and asked half-jokingly if he’d been out at all recently. I predicted the customary, ‘nah man, haven’t been in the water for a while’ response.
Instead, I was stupefied to hear he had scored just last weekend. ‘How?’ I questioned, ‘it’s been flat forever.’ ‘Well, I had a little adventure,’ he began…
Risking your life for surf
Turns out he and another pal took a 12-foot Zodiac to an off-limits point on a naval base in search of waves. Almost in earshot of the break, they were intercepted by a military craft and turned away. This is a common occurrence when getting too close to the base.
But the sight of the forbidden right-hander only served to fuel their determination. The duo pointed their Zodiac directly west, towards the Channel Islands, 23 miles away.
Crossing the Santa Barbara Channel is no small feat, even for an experienced mariner in a decent sized boat. Strong winds, powerful currents, oil rigs, and busy shipping lanes all dissuade one from acting so foolishly.
But here these two went, neither one having made the trip before. They did so in a tiny dingy with a 4-stroke, 5 horsepower outboard for muscle.
Admittedly, my friend told me, halfway through the excursion they began to question their sanity. The two had just skirted a massive oil tanker and, with a heavy dose of irony, the swell began to pick up.
The waves they sought out so resolutely were now threatening their lives. But now the Zodiac was closer to the islands than the mainland, so the two had no choice but to push on.
An hour and a half of white-knuckle navigation later the duo arrived. Their reward? Empty, perfect, chest-high rights. The Promised Land.
Was the surf worth the risk?
If only they didn’t have to make the same perilous journey home. But they did and both returned safely, a little wiser, and a lot more stoked than any other surfers in town.
I guess the moral here is: desperate times call for desperate measures. Stupidity is easy to overlook when it leads to success. Of course, I’d be preaching the exact opposite if this particular trip had ended in my friend’s demise, but I’m willing to ignore this possibility.
The truth is they took the risk, they scored, and came home to talk about it. And perhaps it’s my own desperation, my own frothing for surf, which extols their journey and advocates their dubious decision making.
But I’ve never been so envious of such a hazardous experience. Is it ever worth risking your life for surf? When you’ve be dry as long as me the answer can only be yes!
Instead of taking ridiculous risks why not take a trip to somewhere with waves? Check out our surfing holiday discounts as you could nab yourself a bargain without risking your life for surf.