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This Page: Epicenter - BA's Learn to Surf 101

I'm finally getting back to my Surfing 101 page - I'll continually update this section with new words of wisdom | adult only surfing related humor | Do's - Do Not's | Tip - Tricks | Photos, etc., all based upon my - and others' - experiences in the wonderful world of learning how to surf.

This ain't a bad place to start: Wikipedia - Surfing


Links to others' pages -
There is no way in the world I'm gonna re-write all the stuff that others have already written - already posted to the web - so I'm gonna crib as I go:
1. Surfing Lessons - Surfing Advice:
1a. From:

1b. From a site my good friend Joe Trotter started at - [it looks like some folks at Scripps added to the pages that Joe started, but it's still good]

Joe actually surfed Black's one day before my first day there - he and his posse came back raving about the waves north of Scripps Pier.
BA's Summary of the advice offered on Surfing Lessons / Advice:
Photo album of my co-worker Avnish -

Notes about Avnish's Big Adventure

Avnish was able to catch a wave, stand up, and ride the wave all on his own, after about 15 minutes of coaching. It's important to note that Avnish is a young man in his early 20's, athletic, and very trim.

I supplied a board that is large enough for me to actually knee paddle [I'm an old guy, in my 60's, reasonably athletic, and certainly very far from being trim]

I have probably taught / given surf lessons to hundreds of surf students / potential surfers. A few things for all beginning surfers to remember:
1. Pick a safe place to learn - by safe I mean an area where there are other beginners - NOT a place like this - full of rocks and dangerous waves.

This is where I learned to surf: La Jolla Shores - No rocks - Flat, sandy beach. Most dangerous things here: People

2. About Surfboards:
2a From: EndlessSlope
BA's summary of the advice offered on Surf Boards:

3. About Wetsuits

3a. Bonzer's First Wetsuit [I did not write this story - but if I can relate to it, so will you]
BA's summary of the advice offered on Wetsuits:
4. About Surf Etiquette
4a. The article below was written by my friend Neal Miyake - He [Neal] has a very good handle on the whole surfing scene - he writes well, he's almost genius smart, and surfs vertically very well for a Booger [just kidding]

Stink Eye by Neal Miyake
4b. This "Surfers Code of Ethics" is from Surfrider Foundation Australia:

BA's summary of the advice offered on Surf Etiquette


5. About Surf Shops and Surfing Lessons
5a. I'm going to start a list of recommended surf shops / surf lesson providers - I'll also give the phone number and contact - I'm only going to list the shops / people with whom I have confidence you will be treated fairly and honestly - this is just a start:

San Diego County Surf Shops / Lessons
PB Surf Shop
South Coast / WindanSea Surf Shop
Clairemont Surf Shop
Hanger 94 Surf Shop
Rusty Board Shop
Encinitas Surfboards

6. About [wildlife] Dangers Lurking in the Water [and on land]

6a. I'm starting with Southern California [it's pretty mild here]

So-Cal Dangers
Sharks and Rays
I've been surfing for more than 50 years in Southern California - my experience:
Personal shark sightings [excluding Leopard Sharks] = 2 [1 Mako / 1 Hammerhead] I don't worry about sharks, but if there were a Great White cruising the line-up, I'd stay outta the water.

Angel Sharks - When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I speared, what I thought was a weird looking ray - well - it wasn't - It was an Angel Shark, it came out of the sand - pretty pissed-off by the way, and it bit a chunk out of my swim fin. It swam away with my spear, I went crying home.
My mom and I went to Scripps Aquarium, and I identified the culprit as an Angel Shark.

Rays -Ouch!!
This is pretty cool too - Most of the rays in this study are found in SoCal, too

Sting Rays -
I've been stung more than 10 times and less than 20 [I think]
I treat a sting this way: I ain't a doctor - this is just what I, and others have done:
* Soak foot in burning hot [as hot as you can stand] water for at least one hour.
* Keep replacing the water as it cools with more hot water.
* Make sure you get all the black crapola out of the wound - it should bleed freely.
* Keep the wound clean - you should be able to surf in another hour or so - good luck * Talk to the lifeguards if they're around - go to the doctor if necessary -
* Rarely does the stinger break-off into your foot.
* A stingray's stinger can penetrate tennis shoes, surfing booties, and the tough rubber of swim fins!
Bat Rays - No problema - Plus they are really neat looking - sometimes they'll cruise around on the water's surface - they're fun to catch on light tackle, and they're edible.

Butterfly Ray - No problema - They have really short tails, and a very small stinger. Creepy if you step on them, but virtually harmless.

Electric Ray - Ouch - I've only seen one of these - and I got the shock treatment for it.
Back in the fifties and into the sixties, the big shots at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club wanted to keep the waters in front of The Club stingray free -
They'd pay us kids $ .10?? or $ .25?? for every stingray we speared in front of The Club. Of course the bounty was paid only for stingrays - not stinger free critters. I speared an Electric Ray - and - not knowing what in the heck an Electric Ray was, I noticed it did not have a stinger. I tried to kick it [the ray] off my wooden pole spear. I think the ray was a little pissed-off and gave me a pretty good jolt. I went crying home - AGAIN - and my mom and I went to Scripps Aquarium - AGAIN - and I picked the Electric Ray out of the lineup. Oh yeah, I lost my spear to the ray in the process.

Jellyfish - Ouch, sometimes - Always, annoying
This was a pretty interesting jellyfish that visited La Jolla this summer - Photo from San Diego UnionTribune of Black Sea Nettle - More photos here: Sea Nettle This was the article in the paper:
From San Diego UnionTribune 07 Aug 07


A mysterious drifter is making its presence felt at local beaches.

The black sea nettle, rarely seen along the county coastline, began its latest surprise visit a few weeks ago, when the ocean water topped 70 degrees. The burgundy-colored jellyfish, packed with stinging cells, certainly has captured the attention of beachgoers.

Lifeguards along the region's more than 70 miles of coastline say they've been extra busy treating and consoling people who got stung.

“I'd estimate about 200 citywide per day,” said Lt. Nick Lerma, spokesman for the San Diego lifeguard service.

While the number of stings appears to have peaked at beaches in San Diego, it's rising in North County.

Oceanside Lifeguard Capt. Bill Curtis said his staff used a shovel to pluck two jellies from the surf Sunday.

“A single jellyfish in the surf can sting five people or so if it gets tumbled in a wave and knocked around with bathers,” Curtis said.

In addition, parts of a jellyfish can sting even after they've become detached from the creature's bell-shaped top.

The sting causes skin irritation and redness that usually go away in less than an hour and can be painful. Some lifeguards treat the stings with a vinegar-and-water spray; others recommend washing the affected area with seawater.

Two species of stinging jellyfish are actually coming ashore, Lerma said. One is the purple-striped jelly (chrysaora colorata); the other is the seldomly seen sea nettle (chrysaora achlyos).

Sea nettles' bells can grow up to 3 feet in diameter, and their tentacles can dangle up to 20 feet.

Mystery surrounds the black sea nettle because it has appeared in local waters just five times since 1926. The last visit was in 2005.

The species typically thrives in tropical waters.

“The right conditions have to be present for them to show up, but we can't tell you exactly what those are. No one has figured it out yet,” said Bob Burhans, curator of live displays at the Stephen Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.

“If the currents or water temperature changes, they could be gone tomorrow,” he added.

The aquarium staff has collected several of the sea nettles in hopes of breeding them – as it did five years ago, Burhans said.

One of the giant jellies piqued the curiosity of Patrick Ahern while he was surfing at Windansea beach in La Jolla. “I had never seen one like this in 40 years of surfing,” he said. “It's an impressive organism. It's really quite beautiful.”

Even though he tried to avoid touching the gelatinous blob, the sea nettle issued its familiar calling card.

“Pretty soon my legs felt like they were almost on fire,” Ahern said.

Forty minutes later, the stinging stopped, and he was good to go.

“It was manageable pain,” he said. “I knew it would go away.”

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