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Surfing... From a distance

Perhaps one of the harsher, non-life threatening side effects of #COVID19 is the boredom. If that hasn’t set in by now consider yourself one of the lucky ones. If you’ll pardon the pun, at Calibunga we’ve been hit with a wave of aspiring surfer’s, new and returning, ready to spend their summertime enhancing their skills. As you might imagine, they have questions about how #surfing relates to the adjustments and safety steps we’ve all had to take. Fortunately, we have some good news. Bare in mind, we are not scientists, medical professionals, or claim to be anything more than really, really, ridiculously awesome surfers. So feel free to take everything we say here with a grain of sand.

Before We Get In The Water: If you're giving surfing a shot for your first time, congrats… You rock. If you’re having a professional coach you on your first time out, you rock even harder and are sparing yourself a lot of guessing games.

Receiving instruction comes with the inevitable land-lesson. Learning how to #paddle and pop-up on the sand is essential to a productive first session. This means getting up close and personal with your instructor… Kind of.

We recommend you take the same precautions we use at #Calibunga. Wear a mask (remove before getting into the water). Invest in a pair of #Neoprenegloves. Yes, they make gloves out of the same waterproof material as your wetsuit! And of course, don’t touch each other. We have a no-touching policy in general, it’s unnecessary when coaching.

A few tips for instructors out there. If you are helping clients get past the break, rather than gripping the nose of the board to “pull” them through waves, Push the back of their board through the wave. That way your faces are not facing each and you can utilize the 6’ social distance rule. You can also consider wearing a bandana around your neck. If you wind up in a client rescue situation you can cover your face as you assist them out of the water and onto the shore.

Is COVID A Sea-Dweller: Can we catch it just by being in the saltwater? Dr. Charles Gerba, Professor of Environmental Virology at the University of Arizona said recently, “They (COVID) tend to be transmitted in Aerosol, droplets, contaminated surfaces and not water.” He believes that the chances of catching it in saltwater are not likely but there still isn’t a lot of data. Still, the general view so far is that the saltwater helps dilute the virus.

Check-In With Yourself: A big part of surfing is checking in with your body and knowing your limits. If you aren’t feeling 100% then don’t paddle out. One philosophy that will keep you living; there will always be another wave. If you feel icky, fatigued, lazy, don’t do it.

Social Distance In The Water: A friend and land-lover recently asked me, is it possible to #socialdistance while surfing? It made me laugh. In a perfect world, I would be the only surfer in all of Santa Monica and have all of the waves to myself. The reality is, I’ve gotta share the ocean with everyone, but if I was within six feet of the other guys in the lineup, I would be putting them more at risk of eating shit than I would COVID 19. Give yourself a safe distance and avoid a collision when dropping into waves. Surfing is like bowling, everyone gets their own lane.

Mental Health: This is a big one. Most of the clients that call in are very quick to share the stress, fears, and anxiety they are trying to cope with while locked down. The usual ways they work through that anxiety is by physical fun and unfortunately, that soccer, volleyball, or rock climbing gym aren’t going to be back in business anytime soon. Fortunately, you do have the option of turning to the greatest sport there is. Check out this great artical from #healthline about how surfing can help your physiology cope with anxiety attacks:

If you’re surfing with us you can requests a low-key session that puts the focus on relaxing and letting go of life tensions, or tell your instructor you want a real workout and (waves permitting) we’ll kick your ass out there.

How do you know if surfing is the best #SummerSoloSport for you to pursue this June? You gotta try it out. If you’ve never tried, I’m sure you have 100,000 questions. We’ve got 100,000 answers and you can speak with an instructor to get a better sense of what your in for whether you live in Los Angeles or not: 818-810-70arty later.

Explore New Beaches: "New"... Not "Nude". Did you know Los Angeles County has over 75 miles of beach? Ventura County has 43 miles. This is good news, people! This means that instead of every single #SoCal resident flooding Santa Monica and Venice at the same time, we can visit OTHER gorgeous beaches that might actually be a closer drive to where you live. #SantaMonica and #VeniceBeach are bottlenecks. With so many restaurants, shops, and pier attractions these beaches have become overwhelmed with bodies. The good news? We can thin the crowds by spreading out and using all 75 miles.

How do you find these vastly unexplored beaches? Resources are available online and listed below. Give yourself more space and a better shot at that coveted parking spot.

Check out this awesome map of All the county beaches:

Did you know you can also check out #LiveVideo of beaches and waves BEFORE you drive all the way out? And it's free. Before you load up for the day make your determination on what beach is too crowded by watching the live feed of the waves and shore:

Venice Beach:

Santa Monica Beach:

Parking: Saved the best for last. Just kidding, parking is an absolute #nightmare at the beach right now. Most beach parking lots have been forced into total or partial closure and street parking and meters are very limited. If you have a lesson, give yourself plenty of time to park and be prepared to find that parking space up to a mile away from the water.

Parking lots have closed to discourage beachgoers and flatten the curve, however, your city will likely underestimate the population's determination for sandy summer fun. Plan accordingly.

Luke C.



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