Caught inside the waves in Cabarita

The best and scariest tube ride I've ever had

Steve Kathey: "When you surf, you just feel good."
  • Steve Kathey: "When you surf, you just feel good."
  • Name: Steve Kathey
  • Age: 59
  • From: Ocean Beach
  • Location: Sunset Cliffs

Steve Kathey was walking to his car after a morning of surfing when we stopped to chat. “I’m born and raised in San Diego and my wife and I just moved to Ocean Beach area about six months ago. This is one of my favorite places to surf. Good people and good waves. When you surf, you just feel good.”

Today is Kathey’s 59th birthday and he’s been surfing for 40 years. “Just living in San Diego is what got me started on surfing. My sister’s boyfriend brought me out for the first time. He was a competitive surfer. I remember getting my first wave in Pacific Beach and that was it, I was hooked.”

Kathey’s worst surf experience happened in Fiji. “I was in Cabarita and there was probably about 15 to 20 foot faces. I hadn’t surfed that big so just being out there was crazy.  I kept getting caught inside the waves… one set after the other, it starts taking a lot out of you. I didn’t know if I was going to come up. I was down at the bottom but my board was floating up, so I grabbed my leash and pulled myself up and it saved me. It was both the best tube ride I’ve ever had and the scariest moment I’ve ever had.”

Although Fiji gave him a thrilling ride, Kathey’s favorite spot to surf remains closer to home. “I’ve surfed in Hawaii, Asia, Europe, but I think I enjoy Mexico the most. Northern Baja and mainland Mexico. You just got a beer and a taco, your board shorts, sunny weather, good waves, and nobody around.”

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