This time of year always brings back fond memories of camping trips and family vacations for me, but my fondest memory of summer is one particular year, 1976, just after my junior year in high school.
I had lived all my life in Los Angeles and so obviously had been to the beach a zillion times. Most of my beach experiences were good and I loved the smell of the sea. I had cousins (10 years older than I) that lived directly across Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu beach. There we would have beach cookouts and my cousins would teach my brother and me the fun and exciting world of body surfing in some pretty big swells and waves.
There is nothing quite as exhilarating as flying through the surf toward shore in a giant tube of powerful seawater! My cousins also introduced us early on to all the newest Beach Boys album releases, my favorite being “Pet Sounds”. Our visits there always ended up with me taking home a Beach Boys album or two that I would listen to for hours on my portable turntable at home.
Fast forward to the summer of 1976. Shortly after their graduation, my surfing friends invited me to go camping with them at Leo Carrillo State Beach, north of Malibu. This was to be a “Surfing Safari” camping trip four days at the beach, with boards and all. I had never surfed on a board before, but my friend Steve said, “It’s a breeze”. I was psyched up for this!
|Leo Carrillo State Beach|
However, I had to run it by my parents. It took two weeks of pleading, begging and endless chores before they relented and allowed me my dream! Now I was super psyched!!! I played all my Beach Boys LP’s nonstop as I prepared for this trip, still a little nervous about not having surfed on a board – I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of all my friends!
The day came, and so did my friends with surfboards and camping gear piled high onto an old Oldsmobile. I added mine and off we were on our Surfing Safari!
At the campsite (actually two together), we built a bonfire, set up our tents and enjoyed the fresh beach air. Sometime later and somehow, beer arrived. With it came a friend with a guitar and we spent the whole night singing Beach Boys tunes.
Hearing the waves crash onto the shore that night, I was reminded that the next day was going to be my first chance to surf on a board, and was I nervous! Would I wipe out? Would I get hurt, or worse, would I drown?
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