Surfing San Fran's Ocean Beach For The First Time

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By Byron Loker / Published by Byron Loker
Ocean Beach, San Francisco, February 2017. William Finnegan devoted a few beautiful chapters to surfing this world-famous spot in his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life":

"Sometimes, especially on empty, unruly days at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, my inelegant yet committed surfing could elicit a nod of approval from salty locals. I came close to drowning at Noriega, got washed into the big rock at Kelly’s, got a black eye at Sloat when my board snapped back and hit me square in the face, almost drowned again in the heavy undertow at Montara."

Surfing OB for the first time myself, the first thing I notice as I pull into the parking lot—apart from the cranking surf—is that a surfer de-suiting two cars away from me has a six inch gash on his back. He seems unperturbed, though, as if he doesn’t notice. I approach and ask, "Did someone ride over you?"

Surfing San Fran's Ocean Beach For The First Time - Photo 1 of 1 - "I came close to drowning at Noriega, got washed into the big rock at Kelly’s, got a black eye at Sloat when my board snapped back and hit me square in the face, almost drowned again in the heavy undertow at Montara." - William Finnegan in his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life".

"I came close to drowning at Noriega, got washed into the big rock at Kelly’s, got a black eye at Sloat when my board snapped back and hit me square in the face, almost drowned again in the heavy undertow at Montara." - William Finnegan in his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life".

"Nah, did it myself, went over the falls and landed on a fin," he says. "It’s pretty bad," I tell him, "probably needs stitches."

Read the rest of the story @TheInertia.com