And SoCal session #2 ever. Armed with a too-small wetsuit and a too-big board, I meant to go to Beacon‘s but turned right instead of left and ended up at Grandview. No matter. Unused to the number of people on the beach, I struggled into the wetsuit — generously loaned to me by K’s mom, stiff from years of disuse — self-conscious but nonetheless happy with the scene in front of me. Mellow, easy waves running maybe waist-high. Fun enough to paddle out, but not special enough to spark an aggressively competitive vibe. Plenty of people in the water, 20 to 30 every 100 yards or so, as if the Power Poles crowd had been cloned and deposited at every possible peak along the spit, but spread out, not clustered. More like a sunny day at Moonstone, really. That’s it. If you took Moonstone and copied-pasted it for 10 miles, that would be my impression of the North County surf scene.

Because Leucadia has bluffs with steep stairs and trails, and because the access is through neighborhoods, the crowd tends to be local. Mellow-local, not territorial-local. At least that what I’ve been told. Judging from my experience yesterday, true enough. I didn’t stay out long; just because I’d been able to pull that wetsuit on to my body didn’t mean I could paddle very well in it, sadly. My shoulders ached from being bound so tightly; I tugged the zipper halfway down my back hoping to ease the pain and also to cool off. This place is warm. I probably could’ve trunked it if I’d brought trunks. If I owned trunks.

So I caught a few waves, not very gracefully, but enough to say I surfed, then returned to the beach where I happily freed my top half from the suit. On the way back, I marveled — as I had all day — at the percentage of people with surfboards. Walking, driving, biking; apparently 9 out of 10 people in the greater North County area surf.

More to come. K’s neighbor stopped by to tell me the surf looks really fun this morning. I’m anxious for a surf shop to open so I can rent a suit or find an on-sale pair of board shorts. Time to stroll.