I've missed you buggers over the last week. I packed up the family and drove to San Diego (Mission Beach) for the week. For the last 25 out of 26 years I've lived in Texas. Texas has 1,000 miles of coast and not a single decent beach (unless you've got a love of tar balls and man-o-war jellyfish). Now that I'm in Vegas and only a five hour drive from beautiful Southern California, I'm taking advantage of it.
I did a lot of body boarding while I was there. Surfboard rentals were a little expensive, I'm not that proficient, and everybody out there already were hardcores so I didn't want to intrude on their fun with my lack of etiquette and grace. The waves were about 5'-6' high so there was plenty of surf. 6' waves are considered "signifigant" for surfing here in the USA.
Starting Thursday night, there was a storm brewing offshore and the waves got up to 9'-10' and occasionally higher. This is freaking insane. Before you weirdos comment about how you're used to waves higher than that, you better be telling me that you're from Australia or Hawaii. The only place you'll find waves that high normally (in the continental US) is in the Pacific northwest where you brave hypothermia and great white shark attacks daily.
The waves were so fast that you needed fins on your feet to have a chance to stay on the wave. They were also stacking up on top of each other (hence getting over 10' tall). People would dive under the first wave, get cartwheeled by it, come up gasping for air, and catch the second one right in the kisser.
Here's a picture of a good 9' wave: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/view/80705388/ . Now that's not me in the picture. Like I said, I'm not really that proficient.
I broke my bodyboard just trying to hold onto it when I was trying to swim out past the breakers. I tried to dive under the wave while it was breaking and got tossed around like a rag doll and snapped the board in half. I then stole my son's and tried again.
Catching and staying on a wave like that was a religious experience. If you caught the wave under the crest, the wave would break behind you and knock you flying off of the board. If you caught the wave above the crest, you would get dropped 9' to the water as the wave broke. If you timed it right and skimmed along the front of the wave in the right direction, you could ride it all the way to shore.
Now at 41 years old, I'm chewing asprin and popping muscle relaxants so I can straighten up my twisted body. I smashed my toes into the sand while getting cartwheeled and now one foot is swollen and black and blue. Every muscle in my body is sore and standing up has to be done in stages due to being a back cripple now.
I can't wait to go back next summer and I'm hoping for the freakishly high waves again. Oh, yeah, we took the kids to the zoo too. Good times.