Body Whomping – WindanSea, Sea Lane, Marine St

This Whomper is just a split second from eating it at WindanSea. Photo by Brian Munzon

This Whomper is just a split second from eating it at WindanSea.
Photo by Brian Munoz

WindanSea’s claim to fame was its surf.  Sea Lane and Marine Street’s claim to fame is its wicked shore break otherwise known as ‘whomp,’ or what locals dubbed when you body surfed it, Bodywhomping. The term originated in the early 1960s at the three beaches due to the sound heard when the wave closed out over you like cupping your hands and a single loud “ whomp” of  air rushed out due to the  heavy blow, slap or bang that the wave gives you.

Unlike body surfing where one puts on a pair of fins and rides waves for  x amount of distance … then gracefully kicks out after you have enjoyed your ride …then swim back to the break to catch another one, whomping has a stranger approach.

The true art, which takes a ton of skill of bodywhomping uses the wave’s surge as its momentum … no fins are used! And the ride is for only a few seconds at best.

Fins become cumbersome when wading out and almost impossible to maintain balance after you have been thrown into a few inches of whirl pooling backwash of a wave.

Jon Sarrett shows how it is done at Marine St. Photo by Doug Moranville

Jon Sarrett shows how it is done at Marine St. Photo by Doug Moranville

First, you either are standing in chest or waist high water or treading water just a few feet from shore. Then name of the game is wait for a wave that will not close out (almost impossible) push off from the sand and/or take a few quick, yet powerful stokes and ride the wave for those few seconds. Your ending is most graceful, the body gets slammed into the sand or in a few inches of water with tons of water whirring around you like you are in a commercial washing machine.

If you have done the whomp good, your reward is a mouthful or noseful of sand.  So, unlike body surfing, days later you are still digging out sand from your ears. Fun? You bet!

Women risk loosing their tops int he Shorebreak

Many a women have lost their tops at the brutal Shore Break of Marine St, Sea Lane and WindanSea

In other words, you get short, deep tube rides just before the waves hits the steep shelf that unloads onto the shore.

The key is very simple; time it so that your body rolls with the curl of the wave because you want that few inches of water to cushion your fall and if you don’t you, well, you eat it.

Either way, it is dangerous. Serious injuries are common for those you do not know what they are doing.  Wrist and arm sprains and a few minor concussions here and there usually are the favorable ones along with many sandpapered body marks.   Others more serious can be broken arms, collar and necks … it is not for the novice and or girl with the string bikini. Many of women have walked out with arms crossing their necks as their tops gets sucked out into deep blue.

And I know I going to be getting some serious shit on this, but people like La Jollans Jim and Dennis Downie, and Rick Prouse were forefathers in whomping. All three become some of the first or the first to body surf/whomp the infamous Wedge.

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Comments

  1. Ed Woolery says:

    womping is one of the purest forms of fun to be had in the blue ocean. we are still womping today. just womped Solomar last month. never had more fun than back in the day with the likes of the Kavanaugh brothers, Frapwell brothers, Brett McBride, Andrew Barbolla, Anthony Wolf and way too many others to mention here back in the 80s when we would have Keg parties and bonfires anywhere we wanted on the beach. me and McBride had some of the best sessions at 2 of my favorite places, the Wedge and Solomar. many Sandy beach poundings always put a smile on my face as well. Windansea will always be home and make me smile the most, and we will womp to the end.

  2. Ginna Lazar says:

    Whomped in the early and mid 70’s, lost my top more than once, much to the delight of high school boys 😂
    It was just part of growing up. I do remember that some dude broke his neck at Marine St in 1975 or ’76.

  3. Biggest I ever had was around the corner from the Children’s pool… double over head onto the beach. I was the only one crazy enough boy was it fun. I was the youngest body surfer at Boomers in the mid 70’s. Miss it big time… dead every time come to visit. Marine street parties were off the hook… we had one with 16 kegs in a van and 3 bands (RATT BACK THEN mICKEY rATT PLUS Phenomenon. I still have Mickey Ratt’s first Tee shirt.

  4. Can someone explain the correct way to roll?
    The key is very simple; time it so that your body rolls with the curl of the wave because you want that few inches of water to cushion your fall and if you don’t you, well, you eat it.

  5. Harrison says:

    Crescent Beach (N. Laguna) and Salt Creek has good womp too. It was the only thing that could remotely provide a tiny taste of Marine St. I bodysurfed Marine St. every day before class at SDSU. What a way to start my day. Winter was best, nobody but the friendly seal and me.

  6. Delivering pizzas coming right at ya….Hubba Bubba, EHFC, Sol-Bro’s, Juggy, Schoey, Kellogg, Gredo, Javier in bungies, eliphantman.

    The Shoe to Big Rock is my home.

  7. Been whomping since the early 70s, last 4days at pump house have been epic. I was talking with a young lady this morning who is one of the few chics I have seen out there getting it done. It would be nice to see a few more but that’s not what I am here for. I am looking for info on the roots of what we do. And Goddammit I think we should at least have a coffee table book with some pictures and some words. LJHS78

  8. Don't break out in a rash says:

    Bird was just about as good as it gets. What a diver. Bliss. Summer Camp. Big Fish. He gave Mac a mailbox and his entire ab collection. A whole box of sets of abs…red abs. Winter 2003. Miss you Bird.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Everyone had a bathing suit. Changing in cars or outside put Superman’s phone booth act to shame. It was common to take a drip in the water and/or do some early evening body whomping. […]

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