coffee convo Hwilsin writing


I surfed Southside yesterday. It was Thursday the 21st of March, 2024. 

It’s funny how bad Surfline is with their forecasts now. The day before (Wednesday) on the camera’s it said 3-4 feet. Thursday (yesterday) was forecasted to be smaller at 2-3 feet. This was not the case at all.

On Wednesday, I caught a total of 4 waves in an hour and a half. There were a couple waves, but it was very slow out there, combined with a heavy social hour crowd. These are the sessions I lament.

Yesterday, however, was a different story. Around shoulder to head high, peaky, and consistent. Still, as it is in ‘Surf City’ Huntington Beach everyday, the crowd remained a factor. 

A little background – I went to highschool at HBHS (Huntington Beach High School). I played baseball Freshman and Sophomore year, before switching over to the Surf Class/Team. A lot of the local highschools have a break where they surf – Marina has the Cliffs, Edison has the River Jetties, Newport Harbor has 56th street, HB has the Pier, and so on. What I’m saying is that I have been surfing Southside since at least 2010/2011. I have a bit of familiarity with the lineup, and the surfers filling it up.

Something new happened though; I had my first interaction with a local guy who is a former pro. If I’m not mistaken, he still makes a living from surfing. He was definitely on Tour for a bit and he’s not now, so that’s the only reason I say former. It was less of an interaction, and more of an observation on my part.

This guy was talking pretty loud. Enough so that I could hear him from 10-20 yards away. “I moved away from here because of the waves,” he tells two Brazilian surfers, who have clearly moved here for the waves, or the industry. “I’ve had 4 sessions out here in the last week, and I’ve caught 10 waves.”

“I should be riding a big ass egg so that I can catch waves.”

“My mental illness comes out when I surf here. If I have a mental illness, this is where it comes out.”

I found this incredibly laughable. It was maybe 10 minutes before or after this spoiled shredder’s crybaby rant that one of the local kids (who is out there every single day, multiple times a day) was overheard saying “It’s pretty much all time out here. Like, it’s pretty damn good.”

This dichotomy had me pondering. The pro guy who grew up here, surfed for his career, travels the world getting paid to do so, comes back home and just whines and complains about his hometown and the waves. Huntington Beach is literally one of the most consistent wave zones in the world. People from all over the world come here because of the industry, the surf history, and the surf itself. I know personally, I get out of the water more stoked than I was before I got in, regardless of the conditions.

It made me think of childhood star actors. You know, how they become famous and rich at a very young age and then money never means a thing to them. They seek out any other high, whether it be drugs, sex, travel, whatever, happiness seems elusive to them. Is this what a life of surf stardom brings? Does traversing the globe surfing perfect, empty lineups make one turn their nose up to everyday, everyman’s conditions? If so, maybe I am better off staying at home.

I have never surfed outside of my home country. I have only surfed in one other state. I imagine that if (when) I do get on a surf trip to some exotic location with perfect waves, it might be a bit overwhelming. I can also imagine if I got to experience that multiple times a year, every year, it would be more like a home than a vacation. There would be less surprise, less awe, and less gratitude toward what was happening in front of me, presumably. It would be more expected than respected. 

So I can see why coming home would be tough. Cold water, crowds, waves you have to work for, inconsistency, paying for parking, the whole ordeal. But, that’s surfing. At least that’s what I know as surfing. I wouldn’t do it if I got pissed off and anxious and it made me mentally ill. That’s just me.

Anyways, waves were really fun. I guess subjectively. I got stuck riding my groveler for a week or so – the new G-Skate, thing is sick. So now I’m back on my everyday shortboard. It was a slow first couple of days, but I’m getting the feeling back. I pulled what must have been one of my wildest layback turns I’ve ever done. Not in strength, but just sheer recklessness.

I saw on The Couch Surfing Show they did a Kook Or Core voting on whether or not to post your Surfline Rewind cams to your social media. I do not remember the outcome. I do know I said I was against posting it, but all for sending it to your friends. Since I consider all of you my dearest friends, I feel just fine sharing this here.

Waves were fun today (Friday) too. Couple complaints about South Bar being just as crowded, or worse than Lowers. I don’t know if that’s a fact, but it was pretty packed. I’ve been sitting way outside and just waiting for sets. The crowd is definitely the reason for that. Typically I’m roaming around the lineup, snagging a lot of little waves. There’s no room for that right now. It’s pretty heavy.

Yesterday was a bit more crossed up, some combo swells in the water kept it really peaky. Today the South was more dominant, bringing longer lines. A lot of complaining in the lineup this morning too. Just bitching about the crowd and the lulls mostly. The same whiner from Thursday was out there. A man in front of me hollers about 50 yards over to the bellyacher, “any waves?”

“Not really.”

“No kidding. It’s been about 30 minutes.”

And now here I sit, bitching and complaining about them. 

No kidding. It’s been about 30 minutes.



Drew Stanfield

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