The recent storms have wrecked havoc on my favorite dog walking spot just south of Doheny Beach. Waves hitting the parking lot have been devastating; as a result that area has been shut down. This has forced me out of my comfort zone. I have been hunting for new walking spots near the edge of the water (within the confines of the dog law) for a few weeks now. The other day I hit the jackpot! My new adventure spot confirms that: "LIFE STARTS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE"
Recently the dogs and I visited Salt Creek County Beach situated next to the Ritz Carlton Hotel. We walked down the steep hill and headed north on the trail. After a few miles we turned back south. Hugging the cliffs and walking near the waterline, we encountered a serendipitous spectacle I had not seen for nearly 60 years from back when my husband and I used to pay a dollar to drive on this very beach. The waves were humongous!
A group of elite surfers, clearly having heard that some of the biggest waves of the year would be brewing at Salt Creek came en masse with their boards. Dozens of wet-suit clad surfers were straddling their boards, lined up in the water waiting in the waves for the next 6-8 footer, To my delight, there was an occasional gigantic ten foot wave which climbed up above the smaller ones. The huge surf alone was a show, but that was not all. I was privileged to witness the best of the best surfers traversing the waves, often in the barrel for great distances. I observed them swooping up and completing "air-revs" (360's) on the lip of the waves, and then gracefully returning to ride the face to the shore. I was awestruck!
|Dixie and Lacey chill Watching Surfers|
I took a seat on a nearby bench, securing the dogs in the shade of the picnic table, and sat spellbound for the next two hours. About ten professional photographers with their 18 inch-long lenses began to take spots nearby to film the show! It was high tide. Before long, a wave cracked close enough to us spectators that one photographer yelled as his equipment was sprayed by the salty water. The gaggle of photographers moved back. I stayed fixed on the bench.
As the athletes staged more and bigger tricks, those of us on the sidelines couldn't help but shout out our delight at the spectacle. There was a lot of cheering as the show was so out-of-this world. Also, the water soaked photographer was really complaining loudly about his $5000 lens being wet, and adding to the volume.
|Elite Surfers Consider Waves|
With my fluffy and friendly Golden Retrievers at my feet, I guess I was approachable. Anyway, one man with a giant camera lens to his eye, sat down next to me. Before too long he introduced himself. He taught me something of surfing photography, and I discovered that he is a famous photographer with thousands of followers! A bit later a tattooed young man came up to meet my dogs. We visited comfortably, as he shared more about what I was witnessing in the waves.
I learned that he is Ryan Rustan and he and his dog Sugar are National Big Dog Surfing Champions. He opened the photos on his phone and introduced me to Sugar. He sent me a few still photos of her.
|Ryan Rustan with Lacey|
Eventually I tore myself away from the surf show and headed up the hill to the car. As I drove home, I could not believe the remarkably good time I had had, and was unable to wipe the grin off my face. It was a golden day that might stand out in any year. It wasn't just the surfers, it was also about the friendliness of those random strangers. I had put myself in the path of opportunity by sitting down on the bench. I had also wandered outside of my usual comfort zone.
When I got home I Googled Sugar the Surfing Champ and was delighted by the many national news videos in which Ryan and Sugar starred. I'm still smiling about that day. Maybe this is something for all of us to think about for this new year of 2019, maybe it's time we wandered outside of our comfort zones, and put ourselves in the path of new opportunities. This is our precious time on the planet and it just seems like we should make the most of it.
|Sugar the National Surf Dog Champ|