Borrowing a Surfboard

Lifetimes ago, I went to the beach often. I liked it best in the off season (obviously) when there weren’t a lot of tourists. My favorite San Diego beaches were Coronado — where you could walk forever and which had a dog beach at the north end, and Ocean Beach because of the town and because of Dog Beach. For taking kids to the beach for a swim and dinner cooked on a hibachi, La Jolla Shores was best.

At the south end of San Diego beaches is Imperial Beach which has the misfortune of being at the mouth of the polluted Tijuana River. The estuary down there is a wonderful wetlands, and Imperial Beach is (was?) the only beach town not gentrified out of normal reality. Ordinary people live(d?) there. IB is also the beach where I surfed that one time.

Yes ladies and germs, I surfed. No, I didn’t stand up on the board.

It was an incredibly hot early September afternoon. The Boys on Bikes had come up to my hood which was 10 miles away from where they lived — Imperial Beach — to go ride BMX at Mission Trails, but it was just too hot. “Let’s just go home and go to the beach.” So, we did. They piled themselves and their bikes into the back of my truck and we headed back down the coast. Then, “Martha, you want to surf?”

Well, yeah.

“I can get a board,” said Greg.

We got to IB and commenced driving up and down the streets ostensibly looking for Greg’s friend’s house. Finally we reached a house with an open garage door. “This is it,” said Greg. I stopped the truck. Greg and Jason got out of the truck and went to the garage where they untied a surfboard from some ropes that held it hanging from the ceiling.

“My friend won’t mind,” said Greg, loading the board in the back of my truck. We were off to the beach.

The waves were about 2 feet and breaking cleanly. Not bad for a person surfing for the first time.

They immediately began telling me what to do, but I pretty much knew from watching guys surf for the previous 17 years. I’d also boogie-boarded (sort of fun) and body-surfed (a lot of fun) a lot so I had a little understanding of how to catch a wave. Those things are not surfing, but they are still informative.

Jason and I went out with the surfboard. Jason demonstrated and then it was my turn. The wave came up behind me — I saw it — and I was on the board on four legs. The wave came under me and took me in to shore. I rode a couple of other waves in the same way, but by then it was even too hot to stay at the beach and we didn’t have anything to eat or drink. Jason had been buried up to his neck in sand, which was funny until it got hot in the sand. The vibe was all “Let’s take back the surfboard and go to Mickey D’s.”

We washed the board at the end of the beach where there was a faucet, loaded it back into the truck and went back to Greg’s friend’s house. He and Jason took the board into the garage and hung it up.

It was then I realized we’d “borrowed” that surfboard and we hadn’t been looking for Greg’s friend’s house at all. We’d been looking for a board we could “use” for a little while.

13 thoughts on “Borrowing a Surfboard

  1. Great story…of “borrowing” a surfboard. Good thing nobody was around to mind the borrowing :). Coronado beach is my all time favorite beach and it was THE vacation destination for us when we discovered it in 1997 or 1998. I think we went back 6 times. You’re right, the beach goes on forever and I remember what a good time everyone was having on Dog Beach. I remember walking down to where they have the Keep Out fence for the military installation (Navy I think). I have blogged about this beach several times, but I should have gone down that memory lane again for RDP. (Oh wait, I sort of just did) ❤️

  2. I think I’d be too afraid to borrow a surf board! Those boys had nerve – and at least they did return it! I bet everyone was hungry and very thirsty after that adventure… I’d say that I’ve never been surfing so can’t scratch it off my bucket list but it was never on the list.

  3. Great story. I’ve never surfed on a board, but love body surfing. Like you, I have OB and Coronado as faves. I’ve never been to Imperial beach. Should I sometime be able to travel, perhaps I’ll give it a try.

    • Imperial Beach is different — or was. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. I also enjoy Pacific Beach and the beach walk down to Mission Beach. Yeah, during my misspent youth, my friends and I stole a surfboard.

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