Happy birthday to me. The big 3-0. Whatever funk I’ve been in this week… a surf session this morning was the medicine.
I was hesitant. Tired when my alarm went off at 3:55. Before bed MSW was only showing half a star, but the wind and swell looked ok.
I checked again this morning, full star. Light, cross-shore wind with SSE swell at 8 seconds. Good enough for this 30 year old man. The uncertainty was definitely there. Would the drive be worth it? I decided that the simple act of getting out of bed and driving to the coast would be worth it alone.
Best case: some alone time in the car, a killer sunrise, and fun surf. Worst case: some alone time in the car, a killer sunrise, and a deep breath of ocean air.
Glad I went, because it was the former. I was actually surprised at the size and power of the surf this morning. Honestly caught me off guard. This worked out though, since my longboard is out of commission. The waves were sized and shaped nicely for my 7’0″ step-up. (I say that as if I had a huge quiver to choose from, its’ my only board)
My first paddle out was not an indication of how the session would go. It was easy and smooth. But after taking the first drop on a wave, I found myself caught inside, and the undertow had dragged me to the clobber zone.
No worries, a good opportunity to practice my duck dives! Well after plenty of duck dive practice I barely made it back out.
The next wave came, and it was surprisingly not a closeout. I was pumped, and I was lined up. Great takeoff, maybe a little late but I’ll take it. I trimmed right down the face and dug the fins in for a bottom turn. Cranked my shoulders and looked back at the beautiful open face. The sun peaking up just behind the lip.
I kind of surprised myself with that bottom turn, it was more aggressive than I was expecting, and I quickly found myself at the lip trying to make the top turn. Still working on the compression and CG management there. I leaned back over my heels when I wanted to crouch down and twist my shoulders.
I found myself in freefall, looking at my board against the morning sky. Splash. I covered up my face because the last I saw of my board it was above my head, thankfully no collision.
Back on the inside, where I would remain for what seemed like forever. I duck dove and duck dove but felt like I wasn’t making any traction. My arms were noodles and the short period swell wasn’t letting up. I grew frustrated. My breath quickened and anger flooded me.
I’d make a good run of duck dives and the closer I got to the outside, the more tired I became and the closer I was to the impact zone. I don’t remember one specific wave, but there were a number of big ones that I just couldn’t get past.
Finally a big one took me, and I submitted to Mother Nature’s will. I remember submerging my head and letting out a scream of frustration. The ocean didn’t care how angry I was, the waves just kept coming. I noticed how far I had drifted, and felt the strong undertow that I was unwisely paddling against.
I let the waves take me to shore and caught my breath. Sitting on the sand and just breathing was all I needed. I soaked in the sunrise, which at this point was blindingly bright. Checked my watch, I had time to go back out.
It was a longer paddle than I expected, and even being out of the undertow zone I still got pummeled a bit. I made it though, with noodle arms and a strong determination to just catch one more wave.
After floating around and catching my breath, a set rolled in. In hindsight the first wave was better, but there was a voice in my head saying “don’t take the first wave in a set” coming from a place of fear. Fresh fear stemming from the frustration of recently being caught on the inside feeling very much 30 years old.
The second wave was smaller, but shapely. I lined up and took the drop. Closeout. Oh well, the drop was fun and I was relieved to be done duck-diving for the day. I floated in to shore and rode the whitewater in on my belly.
Whatever funk/frustration I was feeling earlier this week, Mother Nature let me take it out on her and was right there to forgive me with a beautiful sunrise that was equivalent to an empathetic smile.
Just the right dose of vitamin N this morning, and I’m happy with the way I started my 30th year alive.