Uncle Dave was visiting town, and his teenage nephews were enjoying him regaling them with stories of his local exploits when he was a teen in Santa Barbara and Goleta. He surfed from Jalama Beach to Surfer’s Point in Ventura and loved every second of it.
He grew up and went on to be a pilot in Arizona with the coolest job in the world. He flies Lear jets at just under mach speed and saves lives while he does his work because it is an air ambulance company.
He is around 40, and has so many adventure yarns to share that it seems like he could have lived 80 years.
One of the highlights was when he went poking through the rafters in the garage and found his old surfboard. He was advanced, so it is a lightweight short board for carving with alacrity the faces of waves… the larger the better.
He pulled it out of its bag and gave his nephews the full course talk about the details of a surfboard.
The boys were fascinated and soon they were all down at Campus Point, where he was talking about the waves and how they were affected by swell size and speed, wind and tides. He showed them where the waves had their greatest power and potential for good rides.
Before long, they were all at a couple of our local surf shops, one off of Fairview in Goleta and one in the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara. The lessons continued and interest continued to build.
Duty called, there were lives to save and Uncle Dave had to jet back home. But he left behind a burning desire to learn to surf, and the two teens quickly worked and saved enough for a second surfboard, fins and a bunch of wax for traction.
So began a new reason for hauling them to spots for sports. Surfing is a fantastic coastal sport, and we have some good surfers here on our coast.
Now the teens are building their deltoids and lats from paddling, leg strength and agility, and enjoying the interaction with nature. I grew up surfing myself.
One of the teens asked me, “Grandad, did you ever eat it really bad out there?”
I laughed and told them I ate it probably more times than I didn’t, but the rush of the good rides made it all worthwhile.
I couldn’t help but smile at the memories of what I did with my old 9’ 6” long board. That board and I both got dinged up some, but I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.