I've spent lots of time recently in a thick wetsuit, looking out to sea, wondering where all the waves have gone. It's a big question among my fellow-surfers, since during the last couple of winters Califiornia's waves have (to use the correct jargon) well and truly "sucked". Now people are wondering: Could global warming be killing our surf?
This seems like a funny time to ask this question. Since the weekend, LA's been enjoying a minor heat-wave. The sun's out, the sky's as blue as a David Hockney painting, and the first decent swell in ages arrived on Sunday, turning my local "break", where Sunset Boulevard meets the Pacific, into a chest-high rollercoaster ride.
But here's the thing: it was also a very crowded ride. Almost a hundred other surfers were in the water when I rocked up on Sunday morning. The same was true throughout Southern California, where – to Anglicise a comment by a local surf forecaster Adam Wright – the tidal waters felt like Piccadilly Circus.
The reason for this was simple: Supply and demand. Since the start of 2009, decent waves have been scarce in LA. So now they've temporarily appeared, they're in huge demand. This causes traffic problems: There's been surf-gang violence in San Diego, and punch-ups in Orange County. I live in fear of ending up on a crowded wave with the wrong "dudes", like Keanu Reeves in Point Break.
Things weren't supposed to be like this. When climate change first took hold, scientists told us that surfers would be the lucky ones: skiing was likely to get wiped out, but constant storms would whip the oceans of the future into a choppy frenzy. Every year would see a new El Nino, every beach would be surfable, and the sea water of the future would be nice and warm.
Science, however, seems to have got it wrong. Perhaps a current has changed far out at sea in a way they couldn't predict. Or maybe a minute rise in sea levels has subtly altered tidal patterns. Either way, California's surfers are suddenly coming round to the view that global warming might not be as exciting as we thought.
No relief for Dylan's staff
Bob Dylan's battle with neighbours over a smelly "porta-potty" used by security guards at his Malibu estate provides a stunning revelation that has so far escaped public attention: that the multi-millionaire musician is too mean to actually build a proper "convenience" for his long-suffering staff. If I were in their shoes, I'd complain – possibly via the medium of a protest song.