Trestles was pumping. The summer SW swell on the first week of July approached just as a hungry, surf-starved SoCal crowd gathered in town. San Clemente is always a home away from home, somehow blessed with a small-town feel outside of the madness of Los Angeles traffic and chaos. I couldn’t help but check the swell every half hour, anticipating a weekend full of surfing and absolutely nothing else. Perfection.
I made it out of the office late Friday night, to avoid the traffic and cruise south into town in time for a beer before passing out early, to get a nice long rest before surfing my brains out. At least that was the plan.
It was already midnight by the time I pulled off the freeway and was greeted by the typical Marine soldier crowd infesting the area on the holiday weekend. Bars were hopping, but my goals were set, and I wasn’t about to let a little dancing at Dukes throw me off balance in the morning.
“Be home in 30,” he texted me. We had been seeing each other for about 4 years on and off. My extended trips to South America had set us apart and left things rather open-ended, but I always looked forward to the surf trips we shared that brought us back together. It was hard not to enjoy his company when we scored in Baja, or when Playa Hermosa was double overhead with only a handful of locals out. My favorite surf pic I’ve taken to this day was from that winter swell pumping in the Pacific off Costa: black sand, gators galore, and temptations to abandon the “American Dream” for its 9-to-5 rigor.
A dry month went by this June, when San Clemente surfers nearly ripped their hair out waiting for the swell. A 5’10’’ fish left me satisfied up in LA chasing right-handers at Topanga, but it was time to get serious. Trestles was the answer, and the emails and texts from Mr. Suave about the hot tub ready for me was heating up my drive to get the weekend started. After all, it was Friday night.
It was dark, and the front door was open just enough to feel inviting. His cars were out front, but why wasn’t he answering the phone? “Must be sleeping,”’ I assumed. He had been working all day in the sun, probably passed out as he was waiting for me to drive down from LA. At least I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
“Hello? Are you awake?” I asked, slowly opening the door. The lights were off, a bit eerily. Suddenly appeared the silhouette of a naked man, much too aroused to be a sleep walker.
“I….. I……uh….” Shock and a gasp came from the murmurs of nothingness. What had I walked into? I turned and ran for an exit.
I escaped back into my car, started the engine, and before I could fully comprehend the situation, a face appeared at my window: “She was giving me a massage! She is a masseuse. There was nothing romantic going on in there.”
Hundreds of excuses started pouring out of his pathetic little brain. “We know each other from work, and she was over here when I got home. I… I….”
My favorite was, and I quote, “There was absolutely nothing romantic going on in there!” Oh, the comedy.
Before he could lie about how he tripped and fell into bed with her, a shadow appeared on the street and a car sped away. Somehow, the unsettling situation left me rather calm and focused.
“I just came down here to surf… can I use the 6’0’’ thruster”? He walked head low in shame to his garage and came out with my favorite board from his quiver, a hand shaped 6’0’’ with a hand-painted stencil design with beautiful rasta flavor and my favorite fin set-up. I placed it carefully into the backseat, and got back behind the wheel.
That night I slept in the backseat of my car, alongside a much more loyal companion: my new favorite surfboard. I woke up with the sun across from the path the Trestles, hungrier than ever to surf my heart out. As I skated down the path to the beach, I couldn’t help but pity that fool. Not because he had lost me as a gal pal, but because he would never see this beautiful surfboard ever again.
And that’s how I scored my board.
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