A few years back brother Josh joined me at the San Diego Comic Con for a day. While he enjoyed himself, for him it was a glimpse into an alien world. I could identify most of the "celebrities" there; I geeked out if I saw Jeff Smith or Mike Mignola walking by.
Last Saturday I experienced the inverse when I accompanied Josh to the final day of the Hurley Pro being held at Trestles in San Clemente (right on the border of San Onofre -- check out the power plant in the background of the picture below for reference).
We got there at about 8:30, but had to park a few miles away and take a shuttle over. It's not the easiest beach to get to to begin with, but it was an absolute zoo because of the contest. We got there in time to see the tail end of Taylor Knox's heat against Roy Powers. Knox (pictured below) is an alum of Carlsbad High School, so naturally we were cheering for him. He won the heat, but the waves weren't very consistent in the morning, so it was a lot of waiting around. Josh geeked out frequently by identifying surfers and industry people walking around us. Apparently brother Ben (who missed it because he was -- wait for it -- surfing) is an even bigger surf nerd and would have been able to point out a lot more. They were also handing out free swag from time to time, another similarity to Comic Con.
We stayed for two more heats, first Dane Reynolds (pictured below) vs. Rob Machado (I actually know who they are!), then Kelly Slater vs. Kekoa Bacalso (heard of Slater, of course). Reynolds vs. Machado actually had to get restarted 10 minutes in because neither one caught a wave. It was really boring at the beginning. When waves finally did come through, it was pretty fun to watch. It was my first time seeing pro surfers do their thing live, and the waves weren't breaking that far out from the beach, so we had a pretty good view of the show.
After the Slater heat, we went surfing ourselves at "Uppers," north of the contest spot. I've only surfed Trestles twice before, it's a world-reknowned spot, and there was a pretty big line-up already out there, so I was nervous about going out. But it turns out there were more newbs than veterans out there, so I had nothing to worry about. I rode Ben's single-fin and had a great time.
Later we got out and went back down to the contest to see the quarter finals. I think we got to see Knox vs. Reynolds first. The waves had picked up, so it was an exciting match, very fun to watch. We stayed through Slater's next heat too, also good, and then took off, watching the rest live on the internet.
It was a fun day, and I loved being the lesser nerd for once.
(All the photos are from Hurley's website.)