While awaiting my buds' arrival for the Workaholics season premiere party I was hosting, I talked to my neighbor. He claimed he'd surfed Pillbox in Solana Beach that morning and it was shoulder high. I didn't really believe him, but I was intrigued.
I decided to head over there after checking the reports. All the sites I had checked were saying dismal things about the 1-2' waves. I packed the fish in the Rad for a second time in a row, a possible record, and headed to the 101.
Cardiff Reef was tiny, George's was flat, Seaside looked DECENT! I almost parked and paddled out but I had to check on Pillbox.
I parked in the lot and, sure enough, there were some sets rolling through. I can only imagine it's a bathymetry issue, as it doesn't face drastically different compared to neighboring spots to pull in more swell.
As I walked down the lifeguard access ramp, I reflected on the last time my toes had touched that sand. I realized it had been 4th of July weekend of 1996. The reason I remember is because we went to see the movie "Independence Day" and my uncle and cousin were there with us. It's the only time I've been to the beach with my uncle and the first of two times I've been with my cousin.
I reflected on all of the things that had transpired between then and now. It was almost half my life ago! The last time I'd been to this beach, I was prepubescent.
The initial paddle-out was BRUTAL. Because of the extreme width of the fish I was on, my paddling motion is shortened. It becomes more elbow joint/bicep-driven and less shoulder joint/deltoid-driven. While about two-thirds of the way out, my biceps were KILLING me. I pushed on and finally made it out, about two blocks south of the access ramp I'd walked down.
I caught a steep left and had tons of speed, perhaps breaking my all-time speed record on that board. I went for broke, pumping twice before angling off the lip for a sick floater and STOMPING it. Ooh baby.
I caught about five forgettable waves before I caught a nice right that I went for a snap (more lateral on this board, due to my fear of washing out the fins) and my front foot slipped off. Before I paddled out, I had made a concerted effort to comb the wax that had been melted and solidified on quite a few Santa Ana afternoons since it had been applied back in 2005.
I tried diving down to get some sand to coarsen the ancient wax job but was unsuccessful. Apparently, Pillbox is a deep water spot.
I was in the middle of a pack of three. The two other guys were buds. One was a goofyfoot who was absolutely RIPPING.
After catching waves of my own, I'd hooted or let my stoke be known to them on one of their waves in another way. All I got back was dead silence.
I spied a right, probably because I was sitting higher up in the water on my fish and sprint-paddled over there. The guys followed suit, possibly out of curiosity as I'd been relatively mellow in my paddle speed throughout their tenure. A gorgeous peak exposed its fangs and I jumped on its tongue, sliding down to the bottom, bottom turning carefully, going up the face to hit it. The first time I did so, I got the oh-so-satisfying feeling of hearing my spray hit the water behind the wave. I did it again, but there was no sound. I had plenty of speed, but when I went for my third hit, my front foot slipped off the deck and I was done.
As I was paddling out, I got a congrats on the wave from the regularfoot.
I went in about twenty minutes later, as the wind had come up and was making the waves a bit too textured for my tastes.