Stingray Greeting at Ocean Beach

After Sacred Craft Peter and I were at a total loss as to where to go to surf as neither of us had ever surfed in San Diego popper.  But we hopped on the freeway and followed any sing reading “Beaches.” Eventually we found ourselves in Ocean Beach.  I’ve actually been to Ocean Beach twice before as I have a friend who lives there, but I’ve never surfed it before. Winding up there was kind of a funny coincidence.

We parked the car and gandered at the waves.  They weren’t anything great, just the same 1-2s most of southern California was getting.  But we had a plan for the day and that plan included having two surf sessions.  Peter made the executive decision, “We’re going out.”  So we suited up again (after having surfed San Clemente that morning) and waded/paddled out.  Despite the waves’ smallness, they were oddly strong closeouts – easy to have some fun with.  Even though it was STILL overcast, the air had warmed up since we’d been to San Clemente.  The water was still cold, but the overall temp was much more agreeable.

A little closeout came and Peter rode it in.  Then another closeout came and I rode it in.  As soon as I put my foot down – WHAM! a stingray barbed the ball of my foot. I howled. Peter immediately made sure I was okay and suggested we paddle in.  But I felt terrible, we’d just arrived and I didn’t want to cut the session short.  I told him I’d be okay and to keep riding.

I did my best to keep my foot out of the water and rode a few more waves, but never let my feet touch the sand again.  I marveled at all the other surfers wading in the water – how could they put their feet right on the ground?!  I half considered paddling in and letting one of the beach dogs pee on my foot. As calm as I tried to stay I was clearly pre-occupied with thoughts of infection, bleeding in the water and so forth because Peter finally paddled over to me and said, “Come on, dude, let’s go in and clean it off.”

Of course the showers were all closed and blocked off this day, so I filled up a water bottle from the drinking fountain for the initial wound washing. Then we headed over to Rite Aid for some Neosporin and other treatment supplies and did some Rambo-style self surgery in the parking lot.  Peter was very accommodating and tollerent of my my OCD and germophobia.  He didn’t make fun of me at all (and there there was plenty of fodder!).

Still, what a superb surf day – we had a sweet session at San Clemente, delicious post-surf breakfast, we kids-in-a-candy-store at Sacred Craft, surfed another new break and obtained a new war story for the bonfire.

It’s impressive how much pain is associated with just a little pin prick of a wound.

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