Friday, August 08, 2003
Global Surf Report

Rabbit Blog's Heather Havrilesky has this piece on the latest in cinema and television programming with surfing as a focus or aspect.

I'm no surfer: only a poseur. I never really surfed. I own a boogie board and some flippers from the mid 80s, but I hardly ever use them anymore. I still love plain old body surfing, though, and it's nice to live just a few blocks from the beach.

My favorite body surfing experience of my life happened when I was in southern California for a job interview in August or September of 1985. It was late-afternoon on a Sunday after I had spent all day flying east-to-west, Boston-to-LA-via-Detroit. I was staying in Simi Valley near where the interview was the next day. Right across the Coast Range was Zuma Beach in Malibu.

I think I had taken my body board and paraphenalia and had it with me -- it all used to fit in a hanging-suit bag -- but I wasn't using it. Waves were about four or five feet and pretty clean. It was a cloudy, kind of cool day, and the beach was, for all purposes, deserted.

The memory of the thrill of my body hanging over the edge, sticking out, of what real surfers would consider a pissy little wave remains with me today: To be suspended in the water and see this more-than-a-yard drop from the wave you're riding to the water in front of the wave. I've rarely had opportunity to play in such a situation where the waves were so beautiful. It was heart pounding, I got whomped to the bottom once or twice, and I couldn't deal with more than a few good rides, but I've never regreted having done so.

I didn't get the job, but I've always been grateful for the interview.