Surfing the Tides of History in Northern Chumash Land

White Men Have Long Dominated the Sport I Love—But the Status Quo Isn’t Set in Stone

For health reasons I have to stay out of the water for the next couple weeks so I am dreaming about surfing, thinking about surfing, writing about surfing, doing everything but actually getting wet.

In any given session I paddle over whitewash, holding myself up like I’m doing a pushup on the board while I paddle out toward the lineup to keep my momentum going, so I’m not pushed back towards the shore. The whitewater sweeps underneath me, brushes my nose, chills my hands. I paddle to take off—so much paddling, …