Board Shopping in SoCal
We start south looking for boards…finally feeling good about having been in the ocean and knowing that almost all of our checklist is complete.At our first shop jen vows to buy an 8' or longer fun board, but then finds a perfect 6'7 fish at SurfySurfy. Trying to decide on one board that will keep us entertained and challenged for the entire trip seems all but impossible. Especially for a couple of rookie surfers used to the long floaty boards of the PNW. Don't get me wrong, we have had a blast on the longboards but would like to be able to play a bit more (and frankly don't have much room for them, nor do we want to lug them down to the beach).
Jen's success made us think we might actually make the border crossing in the am, but as we head south the number of surf shops ran out (as did our daylight) and still hadn't found our second board. We pull into La Jolla and race to hit the water to try out the new board and surf through sunset.
We slept steps away from pacific beach pier- not quiet, but conveniently located by socals best breakfast burrito (luckily we were up with the sunrise, meaning we beat the crowds). Im not sure how many sunrises/sunsets we have shared in our years together…but i feel like in the brief period we have been on this trip we may have already surpassed the number. hard to argue with that.
After breakfast we are focused. Jen drives while i hop out and quickly run through each shop on our map from pb to san diego. Encenitas and carlsbad clearly had the edge in shops and selection, but we got to try some free demos to test out different boards. I tried a few waves on a 5'11 just to confirm we needed to buy a much longer board, but had a blast instead. The indecision continues….
We reach ocean beach (pretty much the end of the line until downtown san diego) and hit the handful of shops there too…i take another board out for a demo while jen and karma go play on dog beach. Thought this would allow me to commit to the board, but actually had a lot less fun in the small swells and the weekend crowds here so we debrief with a drink and what we were told was social's best fish taco (it didn't disappoint).
We are just about to give up and either leave the country without a board or go back and spend too much money on a board we don't love, but decide to hit the one shop that we hadn't yet been to…mostly because it looked cool in the photos, but also a last ditch shot to be happy with a purchase.
Its well off the beaten track, but we pull into birds nest enjoying the eye candy and remain hopeful… The arched ceiling of bird's surf shed is lined with bird's personal collection and a voice from the desk tells us that "its a surf shop, of course our dog is welcome inside". Inside a young girl is shaping her first board and as bird pulls out the boards he thinks will work we learn that he also happens to be a long time vw owner/lover. His first vehicle was a bus and he figures he's had upwards of 30 over the years…our perfect surfshop. He offers us a drink and hooks me up with great recommendations and i end up with a firewire (which I've been looking at all week, but he happens to have one used and I save a ton of cash). We talk with bird, walk around the bus and get tips on both surfing and our trip. This guy gets it. He has created the perfect boardshop experience, and gave us the perfect way to end the day and the perfect story behind a board. If we don't see you south of the boarder Bird, we will see you back in the shop on our way north!
Exhausted from our search, we share a pitcher of margs and a lobster enchilada and decided to cross the border early am tomorrow.