Readers of my blog have probably noticed that I have not posted anything in a long time. I started this blog on July 7th, 2007 (three years go by quick) and I have blogged at least once nearly every single month since then. After graduating in May, I decided to spend some time travelling. This resulted in a break from writing blog posts. In my New Years post, I wrote:
I’m excited for what the future brings. I’m graduating college this year. I can’t wait to travel to new places, meet new people, learn about new technologies and businesses, and jump into the world.
I’m happy to say that I was able to get a start on all of the above during the past 5 weeks. I plan to write three blog posts covering the separate parts of my travels. This first post covers my time in California.
I moved out to California with one goal on my mind: to learn how to surf. Prior to this summer, I had tried surfing twice, and I wanted the opportunity to spend more time learning. So I booked a ticket and went out to San Diego.
Surfing is not easy by any means (I quickly learned this) and can be dangerous (a man died surfing on my beach during my 3 weeks there). I came in expecting to learn fairly quickly and not to have much difficulty. Needless to say, I had a really rough start including a few bad wipe outs, lots of trouble controlling my board, and difficulty dealing with the waves in every way. Within the first few days, I had multiple cuts across both legs from rocks, a bruised back from a wave that crashed down as I attempted to popup on my board, and a swollen lump on my head from getting thrown headfirst into the ocean floor. I was frustrated by my lack of progress and the steep learning curve.
Waves are completely indifferent. They will crush you, throw you down, and drown you. Waves will humble you. I learned very quickly that the key to staying safe out on the water was learning how to minimize the power of the waves coming at me while I waited for a wave to catch or while I was paddling out onto the water. After a few times of getting hit hard by waves, you start learning how to read the waves. Some waves are good to roll over on the top and some are not. Some waves are better to dip the board through, while other waves you just need to dive down as deep as possible as they crash over the top (as long as no one else is around you because your board will go flying). If you get better, you learn how to “turtle”, which is grabbing your board by the side rails and flipping over underwater as the wave passes over you.
While 3 weeks is hardly enough time to learn how to surf well, I am happy with the progress that I made. I did not make it out to the truly big waves and I could not ride every wave that I attempted, but I did manage some great rides. The first time I actually stood up and rode a wave all the way in to shore was incredible. Riding a wave is euphoric. Nothing else matters when you are standing up and just cruising. Some of the time, I would just paddle out beyond the initial break and sit up on my board relaxing far from shore as waves rolled underneath my board. Other times I would lay down my board on the beach and just sit there doing nothing.
My lifestyle completely centered around my surfing. I did little else each day besides eating amazing Mexican food (big shout out to the “everything-on-the-menu-tastes-great” Don Carlos Taco Shop in La Jolla, the owner is awesome as well) and watching World Cup matches — mainly because I had no energy left when I would come back from the beach in the late afternoon/early evening. Here are a few pictures:
I did manage to make it out to Los Angeles to see a few friends. LA seemed unchanged from my trip there last summer; awesome food, horrible traffic/transportation, lots of amenities/things to do, and a culture oriented around media/entertainment. Here are a few pictures (one from my camera the other from my cell phone) from the trainride:
Just an all around relaxing, yet simultaneously exhausting experience.