It's been a rough few weeks on the surf-front.
The Winter started out strong... we had a good run of consistent waves, and the sand was pretty decent at the local spot I like to frequent.
And then the calendar rolled over to 2019, and the surf conditions have left a bit to be desired. Between regularly scheduled rainstorms and intermittent flat spells, I haven't been in the water in several weeks. Sure, a few guys snuck out after the last rain stopped, but I don't like to play dirty water roulette with my immune system.
There are plenty of things to keep one busy outside of surfing, don't get me wrong. But occasionally you'll get that itch where you just really, really, want to be able to hop in the water for a few, paddle around, take a couple on the head, and ride a few waves all the way to the inside.
It's like the feeling when you're a kid and you have all your buddies together to play hoops, but all the courts are taken. At that moment, you would drive just about anywhere just to find an open court to the game can go on.
I'm approaching that level of desperation in my relationship with surfing.
Which is why, although I can understand all the arguments against—how surfing is really about being in nature and enjoying something that is free and you just have to go out and find it—at this moment, I would gladly pay the $100+ entry fee to ride a man-made wave.
Not to mention, you really get to test your mettle when the wave breaks the same every time. It makes for debatable contest heat conditions, but for a guy like me who is as interested in the way a board travels across the surface of the water, and how it turns on rail, a machine-like wave is an unmatched discovery tool.
Our approach to surfboard design has always centered heavily around building boards to optimize different wave conditions and different surf approaches. Suddenly, building boards for a predictable waves means more emphasis can be put on the rider's preferred approach, because the largest variable—consistent waves—has been accounted for. Which creates a real kid in a candy store situation for those inclined to want to design new surfboards.
The above argument is why I'm thrilled about the rumors of two different wave pools coming to Palm Springs in 2020. From what I understand, Kalani Robb and Cheyne Magnusson are building a surfer's paradise experience at the water park in Palm Springs, and a hospitality group is working with the Wave Garden Cove technology to build a surf park somewhere else in the Coachella valley.
I know, purists are going to hate this, but I am going to be first on the waiting list to at least see what it's all about. Will it replace my early morning solo sessions at a very un-secret spot that we refer to as Magic Johnson's? Absolutely not. But would I drive out there this morning if I had a wave available and a ticket to ride? You betcha. I'll even save you a seat in the Sprinter van.
The above photo is courtesy of the BSR Surf Park in Waco, TX (just slightly out of range for me desperate need to get wet)