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Closed beaches have been difficult for North County surfers. Photo by Chris Ahrens
Columns Waterspot

Waterspot: Learn to practice socially safe surfing

There’s a petition circulating to have the local beaches open for surfing. As someone who would once do anything short of chewing my way through my bedroom door to ride waves, I understand.

Surfing is, for some of us, not a want, but a primary need. Add that to the idea that surfers are generally not known for obeying every law or suggestion and you might have an enforcement problem.

I get the idea of keeping the beaches clear until COVID-19 kicks out and says aloha. I also get that it is our right to ride waves if we keep our distance from the rest of the pack.

Initially, I was in line with the second camp, believing social distancing to be an overreaction by hyperactive politicians.

When Gov. Gavin Newsom banned gatherings over 250 and suggested staying 6 feet or more apart, I rolled my eyes and raised my voice. I am healthy and can easily smack down any foreign invader, I reasoned. Now, I realize I was both wrong and had acted selfishly.

Sunny skies and surf have always appealed to me. In these, the first clear days in weeks, I had to tighten my self-restricting leash and force myself to stay home.

Still, I must admit, I was tempted to sneak down for a quick dawn patrol, duck under the caution tape and ride a few before anyone noticed me.

Seeking to justify my position, I told myself this was a minor and harmless infraction. I was thinking of waxing up when I switched on Facebook to find a post by Skip Frye.

Skip Frye, what was he doing on social media? It turns out he had a statement to make. As a surfer of 61 years, he was staying away from the beach for the first time since 1958. If you know Frye, you realize what a sacrifice this is for him. 

It is estimated by some that Frye has ridden more waves than anyone alive. His FB message was simple: Basically, “Stay Home until it’s safe to hit the beaches again.”

My daughter, who is a nurse at Scripps Hospital, knows me well, and so sent me a similar message. I’m taking good advice from good people who care about me.

It’s been around three weeks since my self-imposed exile and, surprisingly, I kind of like it.

One thing I enjoy is not having to endure someone else’s exotic vacation photos while I’m weaving through the 2-foot slop avoiding dozens of beginners on department store soft boards. I am also enjoying the slow pace without having to rush to the beach to cram in a few waves before racing back home to begin work.

We will soon be back to “Normal,” but I would like to suggest a new normal.

I hope that we learn from our confinement, that we read more, discuss more and work to clean up the environment while spending more time with loved ones. It would be nice if we consumed less junk, drove less, flew less and looked up more at clear, blue skies.

I do not in any way want to discount the pain this sickness has caused so many of you. Many of you are suffering far more than my family or me.

If you are in need, please email me and I’ll help where and if I can and spread the word, via this column.

Finally, I want to invite all of you to join me in a 30-day challenge. Find something you’ve always wanted to do and do it. My goal is to learn the flute that’s been collecting dust in my bedroom for two years. I am one week in and have promised to play my wife a song by mid-April.

Another promise I’ll make now is to share waves with anyone I am in the water with. Let’s be sure the distance between us never boils over into animosity. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy and love one another, my dear brothers and sisters.

1 comment

水上乐园:学习练习社交安全冲浪 – B新聞 April 2, 2020 at 5:34 am

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