surfing in venice beach

Back in L.A. and Venice Beach

Just before my shower a few hours ago, I heard a woman moan in an unmistakable way. At first, I thought somebody was watching a movie with a saucy love scene. But moaning continued for more than just a few minutes and sounded so near, that I just assumed it was the real deal. Couldn’t determine from which neighbor the sound was coming from, though. Might have been from the yellow, two story house outside my bathroom window. Or, maybe from the unit next to me. The walls here are paper thin.

I arrived last night at Los Angeles International Airport after an incredulously smooth flight. Boeing’s new Dreamliner really does live up to the hype – and after flying with Norwegian to both the US and Asia, I have only good things to say about the airline’s service and reasonable fares. The Mediterranean Plate they offer onboard – which you conveniently order on the touch screen in front of you – isn’t half bad.

It feels amazing to be back in my hometown again. We left under such unfairly dramatic circumstances last year. So much was left undone. So, I’m really looking forward to ten days under the California sun. Ten days packed with model shoots, landscape photography and some documentary filming.

Via Airbnb, I’ve rented a clean, appropriately sized studio apartment sandwiched somewhere between Venice Canals – of Californication fame – and the famous or infamous Venice Beach Boardwalk – where almost anything goes. It’s an interesting location that pretty much sums up what I like best about L.A. – the city’s inspiring diversity. Part of my childhood was spent along the coast. And I just can’t get enough of it.

From my location, it shouldn’t take more than about five minutes to carry my surfboard into the waves of the Pacific Ocean. If I stop typing, I can hear them rolling onto the beach right now.

Tomorrow, there’s going to be moaning again. And probably some serious groaning, as I attempt to put on my thick, winter wetsuit with the black gloves, black boots and very peculiar looking hat. Despite the consistent sunshine and comfortable temperatures on land, the water here is bone chilling cold. And too avoid a suffer fest, you need pretty thick neoprene to keep you warm while you wait for the waves.

I’ve surfed in many places around the world; including Phuket, Maui, Bali and most recently, Sri Lanka. I’ve spent many, many hours by Tower 10 just north of Santa Monica Pier learning how to take advantage of the break’s lefties and righties. And even though I’ve taken some of my best surf shots just a few minutes from where I am writing this, I’ve actually never stood on a board in Venice Beach.

I’m told the waves here have been decent recently. Not too tall, not too aggressive. Perfect for this middle aged kid.

Photo credit: Fredrik Jönsson

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