Today I was stuck in Santa Clara with about 7 hours to kill in the middle of the day, so I thought what better place to go than Santa Cruz? Just a hop skip and a kong over Highway 17 and the beach is there for my enjoyment. Beautiful day for it, and what do I come across just east of the Boardwalk but a seawall made of giant concrete obstacles dumped loosely into the ocean, creating an unrivalled playground for flow practice. The obstacles are these giant tetrahedral concrete things, each one probably 10 feet high and dumped in every possible orientation to create an amazing mixed environment. Not my photo, but check it out:
The tide was much lower than what's in the picture when I was there earlier today (I'm in a coffee shop in downtown SC right now), so only the bottom fifth or so was wet and slipping wasn't a big issue. Still, it's a risky place because if you screw up, there's a chance you're going in the water. I did two and a half runs along the whole thing (I'll get to the half part), moving mostly by tic tacs, kongs, pop vaults, and straight jumps. The feeling of flow was great, because as soon as I surmounted one obstacle, the next was right there staring me in the face. It was like a giant logic problem figuring out the most efficient route. It was true parkour, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, I ruined my own fun in the classic way that fun gets ruined: I tried something bigger than I should have. About halfway along the wall there was an ~7 foot drop, which I though I could break up nicely with a tac off of one concrete thing and down to the next one. I stopped and contemplated it for a while, decided I could do it, and found out I was wrong. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I lost control after the tac and wound up spraining my right ankle pretty badly. Luckily I caught myself before I slipped down between a few of those big things and into what would have been a much more serious injury. I'm limping right now, but some good old ICE (Ice, Compression, Elevation) have helped a lot. I read somewhere recently (probably here) that most serious parkour injuries happen when trying big things while training alone. That sounds a little too familiar to me right now.
I'm definitely going to have to give this sprain some time, and in the meantime I'll be viewing this whole thing as a lesson in what not to do. Regardless, the Santa Cruz seawall is a must if anyone happens down this way. So much fun, such great practice.