Great LA, LA Beaches, LA Outdoors, Los Angeles, USA

Surfing in Malibu: Getting back on the board

Last week, Bob and I had the pleasure of spending several days with our new BFFs, Lorenzo and Annie. We had actually met Annie at TBEX in Vancouver, but didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Lorenzo. Luckily, we were able to spend several quality days hanging out in LA before they made their final flight back to Sydney. The four of us got along really great- making jokes and picking on each other as if we had been friends for years.

After hanging out with Annie for awhile, she mentioned that even though she was born in a landlocked city that she has always been fascinated with the beach/surfer lifestyle.  Wanting to make her dreams (albeit, maybe a small dream) come true, Bob and I decided we had to take them surfing. And not at just at any beach either, at one of the best known beaches in the world- Malibu’s Surfrider Beach.

Even on a small wave day, there are tons of people in Malibu


So, one morning we woke up, strapped the surfboards to our car, made a quick stop for donuts and drove to the coast. We were on the search for the perfect wave and wanted to create the quintessential SoCal surf experience that Annie always wanted to live.


A curvy drove through the Santa Monica Mountains lead us to the PCH where we drove up to Malibu. We pulled up to the pier and, as luck would have it, we found the perfect parking spot (that NEVER happens- maybe a sign from the surfing gods?). A few minutes later and we were on the beach, towels laid out and Bob and Lorenzo were charting out where to paddle into the water. The waves weren’t huge but it seemed like perfect conditions for beginners.  But,  after being in the water about 2 hours, they paddled back in. Sad to say, but the waves just weren’t breaking. It was inconsistent and hard to ride.

Looking for waves

Up until then I  had no intention of getting in the water. A few years ago, I had a near death experience while surfing. The short story is that I tried duck-diving under a huge wave and got tousled around. I got under my board somehow and couldn’t get out from under it. I felt like I was stuck- going to die- couldn’t breathe.  I panicked (which is the worst thing you can do). Somehow though, I found a way out and came up for air. The traumatizing effect was there and something I just couldn’t shake- no matter how many times I got back in the water.

But today something came over me.  I couldn’t let Annie down. We weren’t going to let some “inconsistent sets” ruin our surf day. So, we attached our leashes to our ankles and picked up our boards. I didn’t really say it out loud, but I was determined to find a great wave for Annie.

Watching Annie take off on a wave

As we slide on our boards and the cold Pacific Ocean hit my face for the first time in a long time, I felt renewed. And, I felt strong. I remembered every little surf trick my dad had ever told me, I was reading waves and *trying to time out sets. We paddled our hearts out- seriously, I was using every muscle in my arms to fight against the waves and make something out of nothing.

Even though we didn’t hang ten, all was not lost. Whether Annie knew it or not, she helped me get back in the water. And I had a lot of fun.

Have you ever surfed in Malibu? Have you met someone who pushed you to be stronger than you thought you were?


A few tips for surfing in Malibu:

– Directions to Surfrider Beach and Parking tips

-The week days will be a lot less crowded, but still expect a lot of people.

– Follow the rules of the lifeguards and the signs posted about surf conditions. Don’t try to go out in choppy water if you aren’t well experienced in surfing and swimming.

– Check the surf report before you head out

– If you are new to surfing- don’t worry, there are plenty of surf schools that offer personalized lessons and boards to rent.