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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

H2O: A study of degrees

This is a new day. Sand and snow, slopes and saltwater. I love California and I really like Red Bull, especially on days that the Switchboard goes down. A detailed explanation would go: Awakened with a start, the 5:45AM alarm vibrates and squeals more passionately than the bedmate taking off three hours earlier. “Fuck the crack… (pondering the innuendo)…of dawn.” But a looking at the foot of my bed, seeing the snowboard boots stuffed inside my surfboard bag, I laugh. “Wow, life sux (x for xactly my point, sarcasm).” It’s gonna be a good day, so I get out of bed, get into my car and shuttle to UCLA for Aline, Pershing for Sam, and LMU for Stoney. The sun has now risen but my brain is still quite dark. The haze remains all the way to Huntington Beach, where I skate ice-rink sand into polar plunge ocean, the tip of each iceberg coming in 3-5 minute intervals. I don’t care though; I haven’t surfed in over a month. My body is now numb from sheer joy or cold water, pretty positive it’s the water because other joys give me a tingle. Not happening, nothing felt. I greet the dawn patrol with gruff grunts and strokes of beard (the under-40 crowd is looked at with a perverse reversal of curfews as old guys rule the early morning). Some swell in the water today. I take the first set, paddling into position but slightly behind the peak as I fall onto my face roughly 2 seconds after takeoff. Shit, I couldn’t even feel the board. I had stumps for feet while stepping onto an abyss. I wiggle the toes, rotate the ankles. I catch another, pumping the face until closeout. One more and I snap a few turns. This goes on until I ask the time -- 9AM (old-timers…not just an age, a utility). If I had been born without feet and imagined running, the frozen lack of feeling as I sprinted up the beach back to Red Bull HQ solved that fantasy. Wonderful breakfast burritos were being served by wonderful beach bunnies. I’m high already and still at sea-level.
Boarding buses to Big Bear proved problematic. If I’m cold now, what will happen in 8,000 feet? I took that trip though, and didn’t sleep once. Largely due to the infinite supply of Red Bull at hand. OK, solely. But Red Bull knows how to throw a party. Nonstop jams all the way to the hill kept the stoke up, while team bonds were solidified in strange lap-sitting ways. Oh yeah! This was all due to the LMU Ski & Snowboard team, my family. With the shared experience of LMU Surf and a handful of other local rippers. But the shared experience I felt was cold. This is spring season and I went from 57-degree water to a damn blizzard in Bear. Horrible time to complain, when I’m being shuttled and paid for to ski and surf, the main reason why I didn’t complain and had possibly the greatest day of my year thus far. But I was cold. And the hill called Bear hardly held a slope capable of propelling a dropped ball (jaded from Mammoth!). I spent much of my slope time in the lodge, shifting the game plan to sloshed time. While Red Bull was more than generous in covering transportation and lift tickets, there is no such thing as a free lunch (as my $19.61 cafeteria charge agrees). I proceeded to make friends as teammates trickled to and from the lodge, each wave winding down in energy level. Yet back on the bus, the party raged. From Bear to Huntington to LA and still going well into the night. What a So Cal celebration.

--Weston Finfer


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