Peter Heller : Journal

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The Hook

August 7th, 2010 · 211 Comments · Uncategorized

Read at Capitola Books and Café. Four old classmates from high school showed up which made my night. Good, little engaged crowd, some real old time surfers—silver foxes, or fish—and I was honored to have them there. This morning drove from the oak and grass hills of Aromas, back to Surf City. Walked down the twisting wood steps at the end of 41st, trotted along the sandstone skirt of the cliff and out into the kelp beds and surfed the famous Hook. This stretch, less than half a mile in either direction, has more famous breaks per yard of shoreline than maybe any place on earth. Pleasure Point, O’Neil’s, 38th, Drainpipes, the Hook, Shark’s. On and on. For once in my life I had stood up on the bluff, leaning on the wood rail, and watched before I launched. One guy told me the place was notorious for localism.
“Will I get my tires slashed if I go out there?”
“Nah. Just don’t drop in on the wrong guy. You might have an altercation.”
It was pretty crowded. Maybe twenty longboarders, rising and falling in the thick brown kelp, not too many sets. I paddled out. An older guy smiled. “Where you from?”
We were off. Nobody understands a surfer from Denver. “You get points for just paddling out here,” he said.
Wierd surfing in the thick kelp. Once I took off on a nice shoulder and the kelp grabbed my leg, cinched it like a constrictor, wouldn’t let me go. Caught a few, fast drops, got sectioned, wiped out. Always takes me a little while to figure out a new wave. Then one long green ride all the way to the tiny beach. Got out.
Santa Cruz. It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t sharky, and the surfers were friendly. Go figure.

Coffee and a Flower, Shell Station, Big Sur


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