There has been a lot of moving and shaking in Conatus land. A poor winter of surf has created a thrust for us to explore different locations for intensive mini surf retreats. These trips allow us to help CSC mentees reach new levels in their practice in a brief amount of time. We did this one to the SF/Monterey Bay area at the end of February to get in some quality surfing with Paul Saliba. Paul has been with us since September 2015. He is still in the infancy of his practice, but is putting in the hard work. We are going to continue working on relaxing his style, successfully navigating crowded lineups, gaining confidence exploring new breaks, and staying close to the power source of the wave.
Paul recently moved back to his, and as it turns out, our homeland in January. This stretch of coastline is very dear to my heart. When Andrew and my parents divorced in 1985 our mom, Jory, moved up to Sausalito from where we were living in Moss Landing. This resulted in many many weekend drives throughout our youth. Then when I went to college at UC Berkeley from 2000-2005 I did strike missions before class to any number of the breaks pictured in this video. I will not reveal names of any spots. As you can see there are plenty of empty waves, and also many that are so crowded you pretty much have to expect to ride a wave with others or accept the scraps. Paul and I tread very lightly and did not directly challenge local hierarchies and we obeyed their rules of etiquette: do not jock people at the peak, stay inside and out of the way and when you see your opportunity, seize it, give local surfers the right of way, look for spots and peaks where no one is surfing, and stay positive and smiling in the crowded lineups. We were greeted with smiles and acknowledgement that our strategy was working, and we also happened to score some epic surf. The swell pumped the whole time we were there.
Other highlights of the trip included linking up with my old surfing homies. English professor and speed surfing guru, Jon Kitamura, lent me his 5'9" Pavel surfboards quad fin. I saw Lewis Samuels and Marcus Sanders in the OB parking lot. We had a joke about making a Short Man's Surfing Club for all guys under 5'7". Met up with photographer Paul Ferraris for a surf in Pacifica. Paul's work is spectacular. Another surf friend we ran into is Julie Cox, who has opened a new shop in Pacifica called Traveler. What an awesome shop!!! They have a full surf and swim club locker, shower, and lounge right on the beach, with a heated bench to boot. Great products — I snagged hat for me and a pair of earrings for Sophia. The whole place has a very warm vibe created by a combination of intentional aesthetic choices and an effort to promote conscious and local artisans. Last, we got to surf with two of my all time favorite surfers, Andrew Dolan and Shea Hodges. Shea is not in the video, but she is one of the best vertical small wave surfers I have ever met or surfed with. Andrew is the stringy smooth fellow in the last part of the video. He and I grew up surfing together, frothing on Derek Hynd and Tom Curren parts in surf videos, and generally surfing our brains out as much as humanly possible. Andrew has one of the best styles in the game, likes big tubes, and can lay the board on a rail in his sleep. As Conatus instruction expands, I hope to integrate people like this into the team of gurus. Stay tuned for more info on that, and also be on the look out for another post in the next week about our very recent trip to Barbados.
More waves more joy everyone!