Facing off with OB

When I moved to The Peninsula, as locals call it, I didn’t know where my spot was going to be.  It was late October and we were headed toward the North Pacific winter. Despite being early in the year, there was a big swell in the water.  I figured I would start north and work my way down until I saw something I liked.  I started at Ocean Beach.

75, sunny, no wind and solid surf.  There was barely anyone out and it was firing.  I looked no further.  In fact, I didn’t even stop for long enough to look at the other people paddling out.  I found a spot near Noriega, suited up and paddled out on my 6’4”.

Half way through the lines of white water, I realized why there were few people out.  I realized that I might not even make it out.  Ocean Beach is punishing.  The paddle is like nothing I have ever experienced.  I come from the land of perfect pointbreaks where even on double overhead days you can get out without getting your hair wet.

I was undergunned by a long shot and I was way out of shape.  A summer of not paddling or surfing much left me in inferior surf shape.  Any normal year I would slowly work myself back into shape with a bunch of longboard sessions before the real winter swells started.  This year was months of no surf and straight into triple overhead surf.

An hour into my attempt, I abandoned ship, conceded defeat and headed in, knowing that this would probably not be the last time OB kicked my ass.  On the beach I noticed what should have been a sign before I headed out.  Everyone was riding 8’+ boards, most in the 9 range.  Though I could barely lift my arms, I got in touch with Rincon Designs and ordered a 7’6” immediately.

I was out of my element, out of shape and thoroughly defeated.  Despite the ordeal, I took an instant shine to OB.  There’s something to the challenge of raw open ocean that hooked me on the first day.  It immediately became my spot.


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