Beacon’s this time. Scott was right. I didn’t need a wetsuit at all. As I left on my quest to rent one, I thought, “It’s hot. It’s only getting hotter during the day. I don’t think I need a wetsuit at all.” I ended up at the Longboard Grotto, where the souvenirs and the prices are both remarkably ’70s-style. Picked up boardshorts for $10 and a two-piece swimsuit for another $10. (I suspect neither was locally made with sustainable materials and a proper workers’ rights agenda in place, but my choices were as limited as my budget, which is to say, very.)

Back to the apartment where I re-attired myself (wish I’d brought a razor as my legs are looking oh-so very Humboldt — then again, what do I care? I came here to surf and visit not try and blend in with the SoCal beautiful people), then lugged the loaner longboard the five blocks to the bluffs. Winding stairs connect the bluff to the beach. I left my sandals, shades and Surf 4 Peace T-shirt in what seemed like a sensible place and hit the water. Not bad at all.

I made it outside easily. This board paddles well. A young woman surfer said, “Aren’t you cold?!” I said, no, that I’m used to far colder water and this felt really nice. We chatted for a few minutes, which I enjoyed, although I didn’t sense that she was someone I’d form a lasting bond with. A bit too much of the “Omigod, like totally” in her phrasing.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do totally know what I sound like, too. So, like, shut up.

Anyway, the waves tumbled in semi-organized, kinda bumpy and about head-high. I loitered on the edge of the crowd, not in the best position, but getting a feel for the board and the line-up. Despite my non-prime placement, I did catch a wave right off, a nice right. And, proving once again that whenever I think I’m cool, something happens to remind me what a dork I am, when the lip curled over and the wave closed out in front of me, knocking me into the whitewater, I lost my board because I’d never unwrapped the leash and attached it to my ankle.

Yes, quite impressive.

Stayed out and caught more waves, nothing spectacular, and I did wish I had my 7’5″ — it would’ve been perfect on a day like this. The longboard is fun, but it has almost no rocker, so I couldn’t take off like I wanted to. Not complaining though: this whole trip is a gift.

Sunny and 72, and a Cuban restaurant down the street calling my name.