Stab Magazine | San Francisco's Great Suffering And Occasional Joy
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San Francisco’s Great Suffering And Occasional Joy

Beware: Ocean Beach will mostly just make you mad. 

cinema // Jan 5, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: < 1 minutes

Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad, sometimes I feel so happy, but mostly you just make me mad – The opening verse of The Velvet Underground‘s Pale Blue Eyes is tailored to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. While admittedly we–along with every other surf media source–are responsible (to the local’s dismay) for blowing up the space west of the Great Highway, the truth is, OB only has a handful of moments per year. And while there are a few windows a week to go out and get a couple (if you know when and where to look), the typical day there is heavy onshores, 50 degrees (10 C) water, frozen fingertips, 400 duck dives, three-to-ten waves, and one or two that were maybe worth it. From Sloat up past the Beach Chalet you always seem to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, while 100 yards north and south, you watch proper tubes cave over the sandbar you’re not on and spit their guts out. In which case you paddle against the freight train current, or get out and walk down a block or two only to look back at where you once were to see the exact same phenomena take place.

It’s a big open beach that sucks in every swell direction, magnifies it and challenges the most skilled watermen. And I use the term watermen deliberately because surfing the wave’s more battling the ocean than anything. But when you catch the right sandbar with offshore conditions, shining sun and overhead-plus swell it can result in the most thrilling, hardest-fought-for-barrels of your life. Just make sure you bring some foam. 

Here Nat Young and Luke Davis enjoy one of the best days that will break this winter. 

Film and edit by Perry Gershkow 

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