The hardest thing I’ve ever learned

I hit the rocks and it was just not good

John Lavery: "It’s a nine foot, six inch, Becker longboard."
  • John Lavery: "It’s a nine foot, six inch, Becker longboard."
  • Name: John Lavery
  • Age: 63
  • From: Pacific Beach
  • Location: Tourmaline Surf Park

John Lavery was hauling his board up to the showers after a morning surf in Pacific Beach. Lavery started surfing when he moved to San Diego. “I’m originally from Connecticut, but now I live in PB. I always lived by the ocean in Connecticut but there’s no surfing. So when I came out here and saw waves and guys surfing, I said, ‘I gotta learn how to do it.’ It was very hard learning— probably the hardest thing I’ve ever learned— but it was worth it.”

Today Lavery is surfing with his favorite board. “I have two boards, but this is the one I like to use the most. It’s a nine foot, six inch, Becker longboard. I can paddle it easily. It’s just real comfortable and it holds me well.”

Lavery has only surfed in beaches around San Diego because, as he puts it, “I’m just a San Diego guy.” However there are some beaches that he will not surf. “I avoid places that are territorial. I don’t like the vibe and I don’t like being with guys who think they own the place and get all nuts on you.”

Lavery’s scariest moment in the water happened 25 years ago. “I was surfing down at Sunset Cliffs on an eight to ten foot day. I wiped out and hit my head. Then another wave came on top of me and twirled me all over the place. I hit the rocks and it was just not good. I was held under and I just couldn’t get out of the water. It was cold, it was winter, and it was brutal. But I haven’t had any hospital runs.”

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