A Right Worth Writing About

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Leo Carrillo State Beach, CA


Four to six, occasional sevens, shoulder high to one foot overhead. A good swell marked today.

Big enough for all major spots to be breaking up in Malibu, California. All kinds of breaks: Heaving beach breaks, point breaks and reef breaks. Leo Carrillo was the choice of the day for us. Always pushing myself into bigger and bigger days and steeper and faster waves, I was happy to be here. A 9’0 I partially adopted from an old roommate became my trusted companion. I’ve always been infatuated with the art of longboarding: seemingly effortless grace while under pressure from water and personal endeavor. So for a day like today, the 9’0 is my weapon of choice.

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What a day it was, rights smashing against a rock with on the far end of the beach, pushing the waves into a steady peel along the rocky shore. Big enough to get the blood pumping, but not big enough to ruin the break, which can be at risk of walling out. So there we were, in our warm neoprene, combatting the cooler water that Leo is notorious for. Then, the sets starting rolling in.

Just barely getting over a few outside set waves, and being pulled way back by one, I immediately began to think I was in over my head. The rocks made deep ripples in the waves as they begged for air just under the surface. The kelp was thick and heavy, wrapping around my legs and leash. The whole situation was heavy for me.

Then my wave came. It’s an unbelievable feeling. A wave perfect for me. As if it had my name stamped on it from some Central Pacific Poseidon Post Office.

I paddled. Hard. I took the steep drop and dug my single fin into her beautiful face, and then I was flying. I harnessed a small surge from mother nature and made it my own for just a few short moments. But it was magic. And so began my deep love for surf, sun, rubber, water, heavy moments, and die-hard friends who are die-hard surfers.

Like so many other days I’ve had in the water, I will never forget this moment. At least until the next right rolls through with my name on it.

-MB

Mitchell Bender