I am a non-participant surfer. And I suppose I shouldn't be writing about something that I know almost nothing about. But other people do so why not give it a shot.
The inspiration, by the way, is the statue in the photo to the left. More on that later.
I know what a surfboard is, that there are long boards and short boards, and that you need waves in order to surf successfully, the bigger the better I think. That's about the extent of my formal knowledge.
Surfing has been around for many years (I wonder who the first person was to think about standing up on a piece of wood to "ride the waves?" but history suggests the mid 1700s was the beginning, around the time of Captain Cook), and has been immortalized by ultimate California band, The Beach Boys (see video below). Where I live you find people surfing at all hours (when do these folks work?) and it is a recreation and sport that cuts across all demographic and income brackets. There are surfing teams in the local high schools and colleges. And surfing schools and camps.
UPDATE: Don't forget about the Surf Museum located at 233 N. Coast Highway in Oceanside for a great overview of surfing in California!
Having been here for over 2 years now it is clear to me why people think of Southern California when surfing is mentioned, or of surfing when the topic is about our part of the country. Surfing really IS pervasive, a style of life, and probably the most popular pastime in this area (other than just being outdoors or enjoying the beaches).
It has played a significant role in the development of many communities, like Leucadia and Cardiff. And since I seem to mention surfing or surfers in the majority of my posts, it clearly has made an impression on me.
I suppose it is still a novelty, having not grown up here...so perhaps I notice it more. But the signs of how pervasive surfing are everywhere. And given the great waves (I've been told) and terrific weather you can surf year round, although surfers wear wetsuits much of the time. I can't tell you how many homes I have shown that had surfing gear in the garage, on the porch, hanging from hooks, and so on; I drove through an upscale neighborhood this morning (homes start around $900K and go up) and saw 2 wetsuits hanging from a tree in someone's front yard.
The new bronze statue just unveiled by the Cardiff Botanical Society on July 22 (the photo above) is just one example of how influential surfing has been, and still is, in Southern California (it's located on the west side of the coast highway right at the end of Chesterfield at the light). The sculptor was Matthew Antichevich.
Some other signs. Well, there are the surfing signs themselves (you know, like deer crossing signs?). And there are multiple surfing shops in every town I have been to. You can buy all the appropriate attire as well as a range of boards, or you can rent a board if you left yours at home or are on vacation (just like renting a bike).
All along the coast highway, in parking lots, and on neighborhood streets you will find parking cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles and bikes belonging to surfing enthusiasts. I guess the deal is you park, run across the highway (in some cases), go surfing, then head back to the car and change by the side of the road (using a big towel, of course). There are always people crossing streets with surfboards under their arms (and occasionally tied to the side of a bike).
I already mentioned the athletic teams, the surfing schools, and the surfing camps. Local bars and restaurants (my favorite is Le Papagayo in Leucadia) show surfing contests on their TV rather than other sports, and there are multiple competitions along the coast - in my area Encinitas has some big ones. And of course there is the Surfrider Foundation, with chapters all over the place including the San Diego Surfrider Chapter.
Those of you who surf (seems to me Nick M. in Florida is a surfing aficionado - sorry Nick, don't want to take away from the surfing culture in Florida but...) likely find none of this to be a surprise, and probably wonder how, being here in Southern Cali, I haven't gotten on a board. Perhaps someday. Right now I prefer to just enjoy the surfing from a distance.
But of course, surfers buy and sell homes too. So I need to have some idea of what's going on. Could be a good networking possibility I suppose - with some risks...
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