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Name: Eric Ward

Age: 27

Surfing: Tourmaline

Lives In: Lakeside

Pre-Surf Music: The Jackson 5

Post-Surf Food: Pancakes and beer

“I always used to think surfing looked really stupid,” says Eric. “I made fun of my friends that surfed. Then my best friend got sick of my wisecracks and bet that I couldn’t stay on the board for longer than 30 seconds. I figured that it would be easy. The next weekend we went out to Mission Beach. I saw this kid out there — he couldn’t have been more than ten — and he was riding these long waves. I thought it was going to be an easy 50 bucks. A minute later I was coughing up water and had an egg on my head the size of a golf ball.”

Eric lost the bet, but he wanted to prove to himself that he could do it.

“I think I surfed for about three hours that day. I’ve continued to come back out ever since; that was five years ago.”

In those five years Eric has suffered a few setbacks and injuries. On one occasion, “Another surfer wasn’t watching where he was going and he crashed right into me. His board hit my face and sliced my scalp open. I don’t remember much. The guy towed me in. I just remember looking down and seeing a huge pool of blood in the water. I got 20 or so stitches. About three weeks later I got caught in my own leash and twisted my ankle. I guess I’m kind of klutz.”

Besides the lost wager, bumps, and bruises, Eric says a mysterious sea creature bit him. “For a second, I wondered if it was a jellyfish or a stingray, but when I pulled my foot out, I saw definite teeth marks.”

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