Name: Joel Wasserman
Lives: El Cajon:
Surfs: Ocean Beach
I have been surfing Ocean Beach Pier for about 12 years. I love the south side – it is great for goofy footed surfers like me, and going through the pilings of the pier is safer than surfing the crowded north side. Nothing compares to the adrenaline of dropping in and carving the walls to set up threading the needle.
Just before a wave closed out on me, my buddy and I were talking about why so many people fight for waves on the north side. He laughed, "because of the dangers of hitting the pilings.” I disagreed, “it’s so easy shooting the pier. When you drop in, the wave opens up so you can make it through every time." Of course, the next wave I caught closed out right as I was going through the pier. I snapped my board in two.
I did the paddle of shame using my nose to body surf, while the bottom half of my board was tucked underneath it. On the beach I was greeted by laughing seagulls and onlookers that reminded me of the obvious, "hey, you broke your surfboard!" Most of the time I make it through the pilings, but I have broken about nine surfboards in total shooting through the pier in the past decade. I was able to salvage the leash and fins and dropped off the rest to be recycled at my favorite surf shop. A day later I was back out there again with a different stick.