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Oceanside: Suck at surfing

I love surfing. I also suck at it.

Surfing touches every emotion: zen, fear, flight, fight and of course, jealously, like when an 8-year-old snags your wave and leaves you watching in amazement.

I love surfing and the first time I did it in NYC, I almost died. Somehow I thought floating on a board in Costa Rica prepared me to join friends in surfing Hurricane Hanna off Long Island. I thought going from a 9 foot learner board to my friends 6 foot board would be no problem… I mean c’mon, I watched Point Break.

Needless to say, I watched them for 10 minutes, figured I couldn’t just stand there in fear, I was a banking analyst after all. I paddled out with zero understanding of the side current and was thrown onto the jetty within 10 seconds. I held my head to avoid getting knocked out and just rag dolled over the rocks.

My friends watched in horror along with a bystanders on the beach. One guy said he thought he was going to watch me die. Funny story, that guy actually gave me a surf lesson two years later that my girlfriend had bought me. He remembered me.

What is the point of this story. I love surfing.

Did I have to wake up an hour earlier to get my body bandaged like a mummy at the DB health center, sure.

But as an Indiana guy, being a surfer, or even just a professional wave floater was an escape from the concrete jungle.

My favorite place stateside is Oceanside, the last of the Cali beach towns. Just south of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, which acts as kind of a California DMZ separating LA and San Diego, is a beautiful spot of easy living and more importantly, easy waves to catch.

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Days surfing and nights smoking cigars with ex-Marines hearing history and conspiracy theories, that’s how you disconnect.