Mark Kirchner and I stopped to chat near the lifeguard tower. Kirchner has been surfing San Diego for about 25 years.
“I don’t know what got me started. It just looked like it would be fun to try and I love the ocean a lot, so I gave it a go. There are about ten beaches that I surf. My favorite would probably be Sunset Cliffs, it’s just a little more natural up there and not as crowded.”
Today Kirchner is riding one of his ten boards. “This is a South Coast nine-foot longboard. I like the South Coast brand and some days longboards are the better choice. Surfing for me is a sport, not so much of a lifestyle. I guess people really take it spiritually, and I don’t know why that is…”
Kirchner has surfed Pavones, Costa Rica, which had “super long rides and crazy warm water,” but his biggest wipeouts have been at Sunset Cliffs.
“There have been a few times at the Cliffs, when it gets a little hairy trying to get in and out of the water. There are big waves and you’ve really got to time it right. I’ve gotten my feet cut up before, but I’ve always lived to tell the tale,” Kirchner grins.
“With surfing, there’s a big learning curve. It’s easy to learn, but to master it takes a long time, a lot of years to get really good.”