My 9'5 x 17 1/4 x 23 x 16 x 3 Dano Old Pleasure lying in the parking lot at Doheny State Beach, just yards away from where i dumped it a couple of days earlier after limping out of the water with blood pouring from my foot........
Doheny, depsite it's detractors, is a fun wave on a log, a mellow lined up point style righthander though of course we all know it's a shadow of Killer Dana, the wave lost when the harbor was constructed. I'd just enjoyed a mellow dawn patrol getting to know my new board, chatting with friendly locals. As i walked out of the water i suddenly felt a sharp stabbing pain in my right heel.
A number of choice expletives left my mouth as i quickly realised that i had done something pretty serious. It felt like i had stepped on some kind of spike or nail and i thought that may have been my last surf for at least this trip and maybe longer. I limped back to the car and changed with difficulty, leaving a puddle of blood on my board bag and drove home trying to concentrate as waves of pain pulsed up my leg. Believe me it really f****ing hurts!
After staggering into the condo in proper melodramatic fashion, i steeled myself to wash my foot, expecting to reveal a huge gash requiring stitches, flaps of skin etc. Instead there was a neat puncture wound seemingly out of proportion with the ever increasing pain. Turns out i had been properly skewered by a sting ray and let me tell you it's not an experience i'd like to repeat!
In this situation it is not possible to understate how much putting your foot in a bowl of hot water helps, denaturing the venom and taking the pain down to a manageable level as long as you keep the water at just below scolding temperature. To cut a long story short, it took us clueless english people a call to 911 to belatedly find this out and a trip to the hospital for x-rays to confirm that there was none of the barb still in my foot.
The weird thing is that by the 4 hour mark, the pain is gone and you are left with a pathetically small wound to heal. I'm not even going to have a scar to impress ladies with!
Not a part of the California experience i was looking for but a good story now.