Monday, October 22, 2012

Momentum era

My move back to Ocean Beach is such fertile ground for blog posts. I almost don't know where to start. Why did I move to the location I did? I seriously question it at some points, but at other times I think there was some internal wisdom going on, some subconscious drive urging me to apply for that particular apartment, in that particular place, at this very point in time.

I am somewhat uncomfortable in my new digs; not in the inside space itself - there is enough room, and it's quite functional, and I'm getting settled in. But in the building itself, on the block where it is located, in the subsection of the larger neighborhood where it sits.

I've decided however, that it's good for me. This change. This different perspective. It's making me think about a lot of things, to question things I hadn't really considered. As well as to reflect back on all that has come before.

I moved to San Diego in 1986, which seems impossible. I've grown up here. I'm a different person than I was in the late 80s. Or am I? You know, I don't think I really am, I'm the same person with a lot more years of life experience. It took all those previous years of living life, day by day, to get me where I am right now. (Yes, to a dump in OB!)

So when I opened the Surfer Magazine that was in my mailbox, courtesy of the previous collegiate surfer tenants, I was blown away by the first article I started to read.

After myriad ads, a photo layout, the editorial credits, letters to the editors, and more advertisements, the first section of the first article featured someone I knew. Well, not knew, knew, but knew in the sense that I knew his name, and saw him in passing often, and many, many times was witness to the amazing show he would put on out in the water.

I had a crush on the boy, in fact, even though he was younger than I. He was still in high school, whereas I was a sophomore in college, but he lived only a few blocks away, one of those kids who was born and raised in Mission Beach.

Gilley photo, Surfer Magazine, Nov 2012
He really was an incredible surfer. He was a joy to watch, and cute too. But what did I know about surfing? What do I still know? Not much. Nothing really. I only know that it's a genuine treat to watch a good surfer, and Justin was that surfer to a generation of peeps living in Mission Beach in the mid 1980s - 1990s.

So it was both interesting and nostalgic for me to read this write up of where he is now.

He isn't very far.

No. He's right up in Bay Park, the neighborhood where my kids go to school. He's married with a daughter. He works at a local grocery store.

Ellis photo, Surfer Magazine, Nov 2012
The subtitle of his write up is "How one of surfing's greatest talents was hidden from the world." Justin didn't make it on the pro tour. He didn't get famous like many of his "Momentum-era" surfing companions. Although he did go pro for awhile and did appear in the (apparently) now famous surfing movie Momentum II, he never got the giant sponsorships that others did.

The article goes on to ponder why. Was it that he never got enough money to stay pro? Or was it that he preferred staying local to traveling the world in search of the perfect, gigantic wave? Or was it immaturity and a lack of social skills that they mention in the article? There was also a very real injury that ultimately changed his surfing course.

The article made me cry.

There are so many roads in life. And very few markers. The what ifs can get pretty debilitating sometimes, which is why, of course, we should never go there.

But don't we all want to be surf legends in our own way? Don't we all have that desire, at least in passing, to "wow" the world?

The truth is that few of us will, at least in such a public way. And the truth is we might just be better off this way.

But reading this article, seeing his photos, knowing his current status made me weep for the missed chances, the roads not taken, the opportunities lost.


Pat said...

And understanding this is wisdom. Welcome to my world.
Love, Mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

So beautifully articulated, Beth. As per.

So I guess the idea is to take advantage of chances, roads and opportunities, when they present themselves. Like you're doing now, back in your old digs.

Behind you, and with you, 110%*.


*which is so much more than a mere 100%.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

all those other road probably led to kansas or something. I'm really glad you're back in OB :)



Mary C said...

Chico knows him if you want to be introduced.... :)

Beth said...

Well here is the funny thing, Mary. My friend Mary Ann reminded me today that we went on a rather ill-fated overnight surf trip with him to Todos Santos. Mary Ann and I and four guys in a zodiac. It was somewhat rough and Mar got really sick, so puked most of the time the boys surfed, then on the way back to Ensenada, I kid you not, we ran out of gas. Just drifting in the middle of the ocean with no food or water....

Mar and I did divy up the men at that point. (I mean, if you're going to get stuck on a remote island, you may just want to reproduce.) I think she chose Justin straight away though ;)

Beth said...

And I don't think he said 10 words (that were not surf related) the entire time, and thought we were really weird. But you know, if the shoe fits...

Anonymous said...

In my defense we left San Diego for Ensenada, and ultimately the island of Todos Santos, at 3 am after a party. I insisted we swing by your place above Pillars so you could come along, maybe I also insisted you come any case, 4 adults and six surfboards in back of Ted's truck, the drive south, the two fig newtons and 200 beers in the old guliver did not rest well in 20' swells in a zodiac...with 6 adults and said boards, two kiddie paddles and a small pirate flag. That island was beautiful though, and remember Healey getting pinned for what seemed an eternity? And yeah, drifting out to sea begging two USC fishermen to tow us in...that perked me up when they said they'd call the coast gotta give me props for insisting they rescue us! Good times.

Beth said...

My recollection was that we were at Slone's place (remember her?) when Ted suggested it to us, and that we had had just the right amount of alcohol to think it sounded like a good idea ;)

I think the $25 Ted gave those fisherman helped a bit too.

Good times, indeed!!

still 17 in Central PA said...

"There are so many roads in life. And very few markers."
Truer words were never spoken (or written) Just might have to steal it as a facebook post

I wouldn't mind another moment in time to be back in my small, dive apt in Pacific Bch...xo