getting trapped in a wetsuit in Santa Monica have progressed. I am glad to report that I have since found a great wetsuit and for a decent price.
On referral from Dave Vasquez I went and looked at suits at Rip Curl in Santa Monica. Sure enough, I found an awesome suit for a great price and after trying it and another on and NOT getting trapped or needing rescuing I purchased a brand new 2011 Rip Curl E-Bomb Pro 4/3 full suit:
The price was over a Ben Franklin cheaper than at the Rider Shack and the weather on the day was cooler and thus I made very little Human Soup while trying it on. I don't want to make it sound like I didn't sweat but for the most part there was minimal ballsack bisque created in the nether-region of my new suit.
On check out I spoke with the young twenty something surfer kid working there. He asked where I was from and I told him I had recently relocated to Los Angeles from Vancouver, Canada. It was met with pretty much the same response as I have heard time and again since moving here. NO WAY! Vancouver is awesome and weed is pretty much legal!
Apparently, the rumours of Vansterdam being known for it's herb are true. I have to constantly explain that I don't smoke weed and then immediately follow that with an explanation of why. I've found the best way to relate it is that there is simply no novelty in partaking in something which most Vancouverites can find in their couch cushions.
So, I had found a suit and now simply had to find an actual surf board. Rather than being difficult in locating a board suitable for a beginner it was more a case of it being difficult sifting through the multitude of ads on Craigslist. I received a quick education in board terminology and was off and making calls and sending emails in the hopes of finding a funboard/minimal or longboard in good condition and for a reasonable price. Like my apartment search, the search for a board brought me into contact with some interesting people.
I thought I had hit the motherlode. One Craigslist ad had forty five boards listed in it. This guy must be running a board rental shop or something. I sent him an email regarding a couple of the boards I thought would be most suitable. We arranged a time for me to come by when I called him.
Me: Hi, I'm calling about a couple of the longboards you have listed.
Jeff: Yeah dude. Come on by. I live in Palms in an apartment.
Right away, I figured something would be interesting about this visit. There is no way this guy could have forty plus boards in an apartment.
As I drove up, I knew I had the right place. There was a couple with a pickup unloading three boards and a skinny guy standing there talking. That was Jeff. I walked up and he introduced himself. He concluded his deal with the other couple who were in fact selling him boards. I was starting to get the picture. This guy must buy and sell boards. Maybe a good deal was to be had and maybe it wasn't depending on whether or not he did this as a hobby or as a living. He looked respectable enough so I hoped for the former.
I helped Jeff carry some of the boards up to his apartment and as we entered I instantly knew that this was his means of income. There are few things like being kicked in the face with the smell of man-ass and sweat to tell you that this dude was single, a bum and more than likely remaining both for the rest of his life. There were boards everywhere I looked. Jeff directed my gaze to the couch where a massive oafish figure sat, lumped under a blanket with a serving bowl of cereal held inches under his face.
Jeff: Kelsey, this is my roommate Kenny. Kenny, Kelsey.
Me: Err, hey.
Kenny: grunt *shovels more cereal into his gaping maw*
There were all the signs of flunkie-dom. The lazy roommate wrapped in a blanket eating only that which he could make in under two minutes. The empty and not so empty pizza boxes. The unclean carpet. The water bong perched perfectly in its place in the center of the coffee table its ashes strewn here and there from hookah hits gone by.
The reality: These guys sold boards and probably weed and maybe just maybe Kenny worked at the convenience store on the corner of Palms and National one night a week.
Jeff showed me dozens of boards on his porch alone but none of them were that stellar. Then we entered his room. One thrashed psuedo-futon, a shit-tonne of dirty gonch and socks and a pile... I mean a PILE of boards. This was a serious masturbation station. There was no way in hell anything but the worst of hoodrats would unclothe in this joint. He might as well hang a Jergens sponser banner on the wall. He showed me some pretty shitty planks and one 7'2" funboard which I thought was both a little short and a little over priced for me ($240). It was clear that this guy was making his living selling total shit to noobs for a hefty price.
I cannot begrudge a man for making a living so I told him I would have to think about it and made my exit, glad to finally breathe air free of years of human skin, ash and sharticles. Both Kenny and Jeff will die of breathing their own ass fumes, I'm sure of it.
I came home and hit Craigslist again and emailed three more places. The first place turned out to be the lucky listing and a young guy with a board he no longer used got back to me.
Mark, a young jewish film exec flogged me his board for a great price. He claimed to have no buds that surfed but frankly I think he just didn't like the cold water in winter which is the equivalent to the warmest B.C. water in summer. Fair play. Mazaltov my fine semetic friend. I'm going to surf the living matzo out of this sweet ass kosher plank.
In the end I bought a pretty damn sweet setup for a beginner for a helluva price. I got an almost unmarked 7'10" funboard with a leash and a soft roof carrier (kinda like a removable roof rack thing which you can strap on the car) all for two hundred bucks. The board alone is five hundred new and this has maybe a season's wear on it. The carrier is around a hundred and the leash is around thirty. He also threw in a tonne of wax so I'm good to go once the weather improves. If I had the yalmulka Lisa bought me years ago I would wear it on the virgin ride but it's packed away in Vancouver so alas, I will ride this board as a mere Goyem. LACHEIM!