ISD Dispatch | Southern California

SURFING’s Andrew Lewis and Stuart Cornuelle report their two tales from ISD 2009 in So Cal

Copyright ©2009 SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA™. All rights reserved.

Oh, to be ISD 2008: five feet of New Zealand south swell, bluebird skies and bikinis plastered across the sand from Imperial Beach to Malibu. Oh, to be...

Cut to:
ISD 2009: over-ambitious June Gloom, a rain-cluttered drive north to Huntington Beach for the official SURFING beach clean-up and a swell report that would've kept Great Lakes surfers home on the couch. How spiteful, I thought, standing among our ISD camp on Brookhurst, stealing glances at the Monster girls all bundled up in the biting onshore wind. Surely, there were bikinis under all that. Promo handouts must have been low.

But, none of it seemed to matter. The masses showed up anyway, with trash bags and surfboards in hand, just like last year. First pick up some rubbish. Then go shred. Everyone did it. Just like last year.

And then it happened. Around one-ish, when most of the ISDers were heading home for warmer activities, the sun broke, River Jetties kicked up glassy, chest-high bowls and things turned proper. It wasn't truly an ISD experience, however, until Zhou Qiang, a professor from Shandong University in China, stumbled up to Doc Lausch's surfboard demo tent wondering what all the hype was about and ended up catching the first waves of his life and standing up. Clearly stoked on the whole scene, Zhou decided to stick around afterward and hang with Doc and the crew. We pumped him full of Rum and Cokes and he shared with us his stash of foul-tasting dried fish. It was the highlight of everyone's day. Last we saw him, he was heading off down the beach, promising ISD will infect China next year. "How was that?" Doc said. "That's what it's all about right there."

And so it went on into the night. At Beachfront 301, in downtown Huntington, we celebrated our rescued day of surfing with the Surfrider crew and told glorious stories of trash collection and demanded our drinks be poured in glass and scowled at anyone sipping from plastic. Surely, our green habits rubbed off on a few, like they did Zhou Qiang, and they too will be ISD diehards by next year. Then we walked away, waste-free, and carpooled home, because that's what ISD's all about. -- Andrew Lewis

Copyright ©2009 SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA™. All rights reserved.

Meanwhile...down the coast...

ISD: I Surfed Dribblers

“If everybody had an ocean
Across the USA
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like Californ-I-A…”

ISD this year fell on the birthday of Brian Wilson, of the Beach Boys, who turned 67.

“You’d catch ’em surfing at Del Mar…”

Brian never surfed himself, but like Quizno’s and Target, he knew the surf image would sell, and he based his lyrics around fun in the sun.

“We’re waxing down our surfboards,
We can’t wait for June…”

Brian went off his rocker; Brian’s rocker was presumably sold for cocaine money by 1982.

On Saturday morning, in June, at Del Mar, in Californ-I-A, everybody DID have an ocean – but almost nobody was waxing up a surfboard, as that fraud promised in his song. People were jogging or sleeping or eating waffles instead. It was gray and windy from dawn, with a flood tide and no swell, resembling a sour day on Lake Michigan. International Surfing Day, and perhaps the worst morning of the year.

I was there, alone, out of a sense of obligation to ISD – the same reason you keep feeding and petting an old cat that you wish would just die already. Even my constant surf buddy had pulled out (after hearing the report) due to a broken toe/estrogen surplus. Not that you could blame him; it just looked like a good day to stay home.

As I trotted toward the beach and my fate, thinking cynical thoughts, a pair of strangers fell in alongside. They carried two soft-top boards and had only a single springsuit between them. One wore yellow Crocs.

“Hey fellas,” I offered. “Ugly out there, no?”

“Ahhh, we gotta go,” Crocs responded. “Today’s International Surfing Day!”

This was unexpected, and sort of a Jimmy Stewart, It’s a Wonderful Life moment: I want to surf again!

Stoke can just sneak up on you in hilarious shoes, just like that.

I shuffled out and scoured the bank while the two guys practiced their pop-ups in the sand. Eventually they joined me in the water and took turns pushing each other into tiny waves, audibly cackling at the sheer fun that was theirs in the shorebreak. It was cute.

But it was also terrible, and after thirty-six minutes of foam floaters, I returned to dry land. I watched the soft-toppers frolic and fall for a while, then quickly picked up my ten pieces of trash – the Crocs were an easy two – and went straight back to bed. ISD, you just Interrupted my Slumber, Dammit. Same time tomorrow?
-- Stuart Cornuelle