In part one I introduced you to the sport of Womping, if you missed it, you can read it here.

It is 7:40 am, when I am ripped untimely from womb. “Dad, Dad, it’s time. You said we’d be there by 8:00”. It all starts coming back to me. Oh God, it’s the 4th of July. Oh God, I made that stupid promise to Paul that I’d go womping. Agh I must be even crazier than I thought. Up till now its been fine, up till now this womping thing was just a lark, now it’s beginning to become all too real. Last nights bravado is rapidly becoming today’s nightmare. Well you can’t let the enemy see you are scared, so before you know it we’re in the car, armed to the teeth with Womping paraphernalia.

I am sure that my headache was the result of some kind of food allergy rather than the way too many beers enjoyed the night before. I replay the scene as we drive…

Last night around eight pm I had “made a run for the border” (as the ad says), and had headed to my local Mira Mesa (Manilla Mesa as the locals call it because of the high Filipino population) Taco Bell. I bellied on up to the counter and in a firm authoritative voice ordered “two chicken burritos”. It didn’t sound particularly appetizing, but I just wanted to melt into the crowd.  “Will that be for here or to go” was the question that the young man asked me.  I was expecting this, the poor kid was falling into my cunning plan.  “For here” I say.

I wait until the transaction is complete and then I play my master stroke, my ace in the hole, “Oh sorry, can I get a bean burrito as well?”, “Of course sir, that’ll be 59 cents”. I fork over a buck, and wait in anticipation, sure enough they have fallen for the ploy, two transactions, two trays. I sidle on up to the ‘Pick up here’ counter and wait with baited breath. They have fallen for the ploy and there are two trays. This means that in case of a catastrophic equipment failure I will have a backup.


I  beat a hasty retreat, my prizes in hand. I select a table at the back of the restaurant near the exit. I wait until all of the staff are occupied and make a run for it. Quickly stash trays on the passenger seat, and make the getaway. Nothing to it. I guess it helps that I am 40 years old, I doubt they get many people of my age stealing their 5 cent plastic trays. Flushed with success I get home and make a grand entrance. Back then I was married to Attilla the Mum, it is possible that my smug grin was the dead giveaway, she spots my prizes.  “Oh no, you’re not really going to do this”. “Not just yes, hell yes” is my reply.

Of course she then launches into a long diatribe about stealing the trays. I try to explain that I have not stolen them. I had liberated the trays from the oppressive regime that they were living under. This was the one chance that the trays might have to experience the world outside of Taco Bell.  The smell of salt air, the power of the ocean, etc, etc.

Back to the story….

We arrive at Marine Street and are lucky enough to find a parking spot very close to the killing fields. This in my opinion is important, I may need to be carried back, so proximity of parking is important. Paul had realized that this would be an interesting day and to make sure that no moment might be missed brought his buddy Jeff along to share in the antics. Jeff had been giggling for the entire trip. So I finally ask him if he thinks he could persuade his Dad to do this kind of thing. “Absolutely not” is his well reasoned out reply, “bedsides my mother wouldn’t let him”.

Although the womping campaign has been carefully planned so far, the freeing of the trays from the Taco Bell oppressors, I realize that certain minor things have like, fallen through the crack. There are no changing facilities!! So the fun begins, have you ever tried to get into a wet suit, while still keeping a modicum of decency and decorum. It’s not easy, yup I wish I had considered this changing business. I feel at a distinct disadvantage, I have never in my life put a wet suit on, never mind on a street corner in La Jolla. Well I finally get into this damn thing and Paul zips it up. I suddenly realized what a steak feels like when put in a ziplock bag and someone squeezing the air out.

We head down to the beach, Paul my mentor, surveys the situation and declares matter of factually, that I am unlikely to die, but there is definitely enough action to “WORK” me seriously. Hmm, I wonder what a serious working is, and does he mean serious to a 16 year old , which would probably be a ‘terminal’ working for a 40 year old. The waves seem way bigger to me that the last time I came out here to watch. Paul grabs a tray and says “come on I’ll show you the ropes”. I grab my tray, we get Jeff to take a photo, “Father and son about to womp” (Ansel Adams eat your heart out), and off we go.

The first thing I notice, cos I’m pretty observant, is that the water is bloody freezing. I mean, I thought the pacific ocean was supposed to be warm, well this definitely is not. I quickly develop a deep regard for my wet suit. Paul says tells me to follow him. We head out, I get out to the point where the water is up to my chest, and Paul says something to the effect of “oh you’d better watch out” at which point he dives under the water, odd I think, but 16 year olds….

Then it happens, I wear glasses because I am very short sighted, I obviously do not have them on right now, so it is only fractions of a second before I see what to me looks like a tsunami approaching. The wave literally picks me and my tray up, gives me a first hand account of how a shirt must feel when it’s in the “extremely dirty cycle” in the washing machine, it then deposited me in an untidy heap in the dirt, oops beach.

Common sense should have told me to stop at that moment. But I did not. I repeated the same scene another two times, with exactly the same result. Dazed, I finally gave up my womping career and picking seaweed from between my teeth staggered back to our base camp to retrieve my glasses. It was then that I realized that Paul and Jeff were not my only fan club. Quite a crowd of people had turned up for a Volleyball tournament, but watching a 40 year old womper had taken precedence.

In the post game show Paul explained the error of my technique. The trick is to dive under the wave, rather than let it beat you up. In retrospect he was right. I think my major problem came with the third attempt. As the enemy wave approached I decided to try an aerial assault. This probably was not the best idea that I have ever had (I think that much like a boxer, I was beginning to get punch drunk). I launched myself at this wave, and we merged, right as it is breaking, Oh NO what the $#%^ have I done, well we go through heavily soiled cycle again, but this time there is a new twist, this time I’m kinda sorta on the top of the bleeping thing, as opposed to the middle, this results in me once again being deposited in the dirt, but this time its from about 5 feet (may not seem like much but you had to be there).

At this point common sense kicked in, I walk, well hobble in triumph back to the car, veni vidi wompi, I came, I saw , I womped……

All in all the physical damage wasn’t too bad, nothing seemed to require stitches, and the bruising went down after a few days. The worst thing was the the sand, it got everywhere, showers just don’t seem to get rid of it all. I had sand in places where I didn’t know you could get sand….

And I was wearing a wet suit!

Simon Barrett

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