Magazine

From the March 2014 magazine.

March 2014: Dear Grapevine

The waves were perfect, so I paddled out. The first one I caught was a beast.

Hang twelve
This is in response to the article “There Are No Musts” (Sept. 2013) and the idea that the Steps are only suggestions.

I was surfing one winter at a place called Black’s Beach in La Jolla, Calif., a spot known for having large, powerful waves. It was cold and I wasn’t in the best shape, but the waves were perfect, so I paddled out. The first one I caught was a beast. It pitched me on the takeoff and my leash snapped, then it churned me underwater for what seemed like forever. When I finally came up for air, another huge wave broke on me, and then several more. At one point, I turned and saw that the other surfers were far away! I realized that I had been caught in a riptide, so I started swimming parallel to the shore, trying to escape the pull of the current. I was getting exhausted, my wetsuit felt like a straitjacket and my arms felt ready to fall off when I heard a voice. A surfer had paddled toward me and was pointing and yelling, “You’re swimming toward the rip—swim the other way!”

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