Iconic southern California wave did not deserve this.
It is the first day of September in southern California and feels like it. Yesterday’s August sun has been replaced by a cool mist. The children cower in the corner, severely shell-shocked, having just completed their first or second week of school. It feels like fall. Like the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles.
Oh how my heart would soar these past eight years when the calendar turned for that is when I began to hear the song of those cobbled stones. They would whisper in the most delicate tune, whisper, “Come stand upon us… come and watch the world’s best surfers on one of the world’s best waves… come and rub sunburned shoulders with the people… come offer them sunscreen for their sunburned shoulders… come.”
Of course I would heed their call. Of course I would drive and park and walk and watch from the tent city, that Cair Paravel, and feel in touch with professional surfing once again.
And of course we all know that Lowers is not, in fact, “one of the world’s best waves” but it is an undeniably fun wave to both surf and watch. The announcers, from Pete Mel to Ron Blakey to the ’89 World Champ, couldn’t help but call it a “skate park.” A stupid description but as far as the waves on tour go partially accurate.
Well, Lowers is no longer with us. It has been replaced by Lemoore, all cow stinky and gray, and a fitting burial would have been to hand the wave and waiting period over to the locals. To let them enjoy prime Autumn but no. Lowers has been publicly shamed. Forced to wear a scarlet “L” for longboarding. Forced to host a longboard event.
Now, I have nothing against longboarding whatsoever and spend many afternoons on Cardiff-by-the-Sea’s sand enjoying seeing that dance. The walking to nose and taking off fins forward and arching back. Cardiff’s waves are conducive to the activity as are Malibu’s, Church’s, San-O’s etc. Lowers waves are not conducive and never have had any moment of hot longboarding action save the great Herb Fletcher but for some reason, for some very sad reason, Lowers will be hosting the RELIK World Longboard Tour stop from Sept. 9 – Sept. 19.
The shame of losing high performance professional surfing is one thing. The shame of hosting high performance professional longboarding is quite another. Quite another altogether and Lowers will have to carry that shame for years to come. Years and years and years especially if a high performance longboarder sticks an alley-oop or some sad thing that we must watch on repeat.
Longboarding doesn’t belong at Lowers and if my name was Chris Ward I would paddle out there every single day from Sept. 9 – Sept. 19 and refuse to move.