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Little memories of Huntington Beach

33°39' 22" N 118°0' 11" W Huntington Beach

Nov 12, 2014  –  by Stéphane

With Maeva now working full time on her personal illustration project, I guess I’m now the new editor in chief! Just so you know folks, you are gonna have a lot more surf stories than anything else. Part of the deal with Maeva, who is definitely less interested in surfing than me, is to spend some time on her side improving her drawing skills in order to become a famous illustrator. Who knows?! As for me, I get the two last two weeks on the american west coast to surf between L.A and San Diego. Not too bad, and the water is warm enough to not wear a wetsuit anymore, finally!

So guys, don’t be hard on me, it’s only my second post on the blog. I know Maeva has better writing skills, especially in English, which is why she was doing the blabla so far. In addition, it was really pleasant for me to read my own story in which I’m playing the main role! So you might hear my little french accent throughout the next few posts but I didn’t cheat, I didn’t “learn when I was little” as she always says when people are impressed by her native american accent!

Back to our road trip, Huntington Beach (HB) was one of the must do’s on the way south! Indeed, I came here nine years ago, in July 2005, with my good buddy Etienne. We actually spent almost a month in LA, learning English in the morning and checking out skate street spots during our free afternoons. We had mapped out a bunch of locations around LA from our favorite DVDs and first online videos to do our own grinds and jumps on those iconic spots! But more particularly, HB is where I tried surfing on actual waves for the very first time! Yes, because I did try when I was maybe 5 years old, on a polyester board in the staircase of a rental house somewhere in Brittany. Didn’t work out too well though, I broke the surfboard in two pieces! So this time with Etienne, we went in the water and it turns out it was much better! Okay we were on 9” long soft top longboards, but the summer waves were small and it was our first time. Gotta start somewhere! So here we were with Maeva, looking at the same beach and surfers from the HB pier, good times!

The Huntington Beach pier. Longest concret pier in California
The Huntington Beach pier. Longest concret pier in California
A pelican staring at the water from the Huntington Beach pier, waiting for a band fish to cruise under and jump
A pelican staring at the water from the Huntington Beach pier, waiting for a band fish to cruise under and jump
The small waves of Huntington Beach
The small waves of Huntington Beach

We spent the day in this little surf town, cruising along the ocean as well as the two main touristy streets. I even bought a swim shirt to switch from the wetsuit, a Quicksilver one of course to feel like Kelly Slater. In white though. I didn’t find a pink one, and I didn’t necessarily want to catch everyone’s attention in the water… I still fall for no reason too often. We also looked at the Duke Kahanamoku statue. The man who basically exported surf out of Hawaii when they were still surfing on self made pieces of pine back in 1912. I felt even more impressed when reading some stories about him, what a life!

After cruising around – Maeva is getting better on her longboard – it was time for a frozen yogurt! But we were disappointed to learn there is no such shop in town. However, a guy told us about a “different” place that was worth checking out: Bonzai bowl. He wasn’t really able to explain the concept of the store but looked very excited about it, so we gave it a try, and that was something! Try to picture a family size yogurt bowl filled with a fresh-fruits-frozen-smoothie topped with granola and freshly sliced fruits. Healthy, beautiful, tasty, in one word: amazing.

Maeva posing in front of a classic and really nice blue 57’ Chevrolet in Huntington Beach
Maeva posing in front of a classic and really nice blue 57’ Chevrolet in Huntington Beach
An old T2 Volkswagen, iconic hippie minivan, with a halloween decoration. Did you notice the foot hanging to the surfboard leash?
An old T2 Volkswagen, iconic hippie minivan, with a halloween decoration. Did you notice the foot hanging to the surfboard leash?

After this, I was ready for a surf session! Normal as Maeva would say, but we had already planned our next stop: Umami Burger for dinner (which was just 30min away driving) so we basically had 3 hours to kill.

I surfed until sunset with lots of very young-and-annoying locals who were not ready to let others catch waves, the competition was hard! Meanwhile, Maeva was tanning on the beach reading “The Power of Habits” to tell me the best parts later that night. I caught a few waves, nothing crazy but I was surfing in my memories at the same time.

After we gazing at another really nice sunset, we headed towards Laguna Beach to Umami Burger. Lots of people had told us about it, so it was time to cross it out of our bucket list. Umami Burger is a chain of gourmet burgers mainly located in California, that’s all we knew about it. So as usual we were expecting another fast food chain with a big flashy logo on the side of the road, nope, not at all. Of course we had Google Maps to guide us to the cute little restaurant with a mediterranean-surfer decoration, with waiters and even someone to seat you and walk you through the flavour of each burger. Wooh, it’s fancy! Maeva was almost feeling bad to be wearing her beach outfit with her pyjamas sweater on top because of the AC in the restaurant. Come on, it’s only burgers, you still have to eat with your fingers! Anyway, their tagline “we don’t do any substitutions” is clear enough. Every single burger has a gourmet sweet and savoury taste and they are all very unique. If you live nearby a Umami and are open to trying something not even comparable to a cheeseburger, it’s worth the drive! Be aware though, the bill isn’t nearly as low as a fast food chain, expect to spend at least twice as much.

Maeva, fork in hand, ready for the Umami Burger experience!
Maeva, fork in hand, ready for the Umami Burger experience!

Now that we were full, we only had one goal in mind: to have a good sleep! And to enjoy a long night, lazy morning in bed, and even a shower. So we opted for the easy solution: campground. We went to the Crystal Cove State Park campground that was close by, and as always we were shocked to discover it was $50 a night (weekday and off season), and you even have to add a loony for a shower… Welcome to California, where are the hippie times? But our decision was taken and we sure did have a good sleep!
As you can read, whether it comes from Maeva or myself, you will always have stories related to food, enjoy!

Maeva, who’s complaining every single day about our higyene, decided to self-cut her hair
Maeva, who’s complaining every single day about our higyene, decided to self-cut her hair