Thursday, July 20

A Stone's Throw

I've found a place to live in Santa Cruz. It's so close to the surf that - if it were high tide (and you had a strong arm) - you could probably throw a rock into the Pacific Ocean from the front yard.

The address is 360 36th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (use google maps to see where it is). In the photo, 36th is the Avenue on the far left. I'll be living about three houses from the coast. It's about 6 kms from work so with before-work surfs and a bike commute I should keep fit.

I'll be living in a 3 bed share house. One of my future housemates - Jay - is a keen surfer. So keen, in fact, that soon after I arrive he's due to get one of his ears drilled out because of surfer's ear. Surfer's ear is where repeated exposure to cold water causes your ear bones to grow and block up your ear. Fun.

If I'm going to be surfing in Santa Cruz with the Eastside Rippas I'll have to lift my game. So I took a day off work today for surfing. Unfortunately, I woke up with both a toothache and sore sinuses. Not exactly the best shape for charging overhead Woolamai beach. But, with a day off, I was hardly going to stay home and get bored so I went anyway. Needless to say, I was dealt a very sound thrashing.

When the exposed beaches east of Melbourne get overhead the surf forecast will say something like "Good waves if you're prepared to take a few on the head". The idea being that most waves will peel nicely but an occasional 'clean up set' will power through and close out the beach. You have no choice but to take it on the head (because if you sit far enough outside to paddle over it you'll be too far out to catch the waves that are makeable). I got my first long hold down for a while; long enough I had to think to myself, 'relax and do the star fish and you'll pop up eventually'. And I did.

After about 4pm the Phillip Island locals started knocking off work and hitting it. Jeesus some of them can surf. They were spraying cut backs and floaters like you'd see on the pro tour. This one ancient guy - must have been at least 60 - was riding a shortboard like a 20 year old. A set would come though and I'd scramble for the horizon just make it over and turn to see him landing an elevator take off and cutting a massive bottom turn. I was out of my depth.

So, near sunset, I wandered down the beach to where it was a little smaller and less crowded. I got a couple of ok waves but didn't fare much better. Tomorrow (I'm skiving off again) I'll head to the Surf Coast where it will be slightly more mellow.

It's less than a month now until I arrive in the US. While I'm very excited about Santa Cruz, I'm starting to feel just as sad about leaving Melbourne. It is hard to move so constantly - I seem to uproot myself before I get settled.

* The photo of 36th Ave - copyright Boots McGhee - is from the web page of Santa Cruz's Surfrider Foundation. They did an excellent project of documenting coastal development and erosion in Santa Cruz: check out their other photos of my neighborhood.


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