It's been 7 weeks since my last surf.
It was hard to convince myself to go today. The report said 2-3', and you never know if that means closer to 1' or 4'. I decided to chance it and had a really nice afternoon - it was about 3 - 4' with some bigger sets, and the water packed a real punch. (I need to stop trying to block waves with my head! I have a knack for placing myself exactly in the impact zone.) I messed up the timing with the tides, but it worked out totally fine.
I was shocked when I first pulled into town -- it was mobbed. I guess I haven't been to the coast on a summer weekend for a long time. My work schedule used to give me Fridays off, so I would always try to avoid surfing on the weekends. I stopped by the surf shop to say hi to the owner and got a big hug right when I walked in. I can't tell you how much I appreciated that. He immediately said, "It's a zoo today. Park there (gesturing to one of the four or so parking spaces they have at the shop) and suit up." While I was putting on my gear, a woman around my age or (god, I hope) slightly older started talking with me. She and her husband are from B.C., and they had rented gear and were headed up to my regular spot. She asked if it was my first time surfing, and I said no, but that I'm a beginner. She said, "Today is my first time." What could I do? My response was, "Well, this is going to be the best day of your life."
The shop owner told me to avoid the cove because of the crowds, and he had me leave my car and just walk a bit to another break. I was scurrrred! I've never surfed anywhere in Oregon but my little cove. But I went for it -- great location, but much more public than I'm used to, which freaked me out. I had to do some serious self-talk, but it was worth it.
So here's the thing: Not one other person was in the ocean as far as I could see. No one. Gorgeous sunny day, people were actually sun bathing (damn, that water was cold, though - instant ice cream headache), and I was literally the only person, surfer or other, in the water. NUTS! I'm telling you -- this is why I can't imagine learning to surf anywhere else. After about 1.5 hours, 3 kids with boards got in the water about 100 yards away from me. That's it. Amazing. (But I can guarantee you that cove was bursting with surfers, SUPs, and kayaks.)
I had a good time today. I had some good, long rides - smooth, curvy, scootching up and down the board. Beautiful hanging out, too-good-to-be-true, long rides. I went for a lot of green and got only one small one -- I cannot figure out green waves and it's really tough. I took a lot on my belly and knees (at least, until the wipeouts) and it helps to do that to get the feel of them, but I just can't take the drop on my feet and figure it out. I don't know; I know it doesn't taking "figuring". I've been here before. But it's really frustrating me.
I surfed for a while and then paddled way out, past even where the green waves formed, and just floated. It had gotten glassy in between sets and the sun was beating down -- it was so beautiful. I was sitting on my board, just trying to process some heavy shit I've been going through, but things kept bringing me back to the present. Either the sun reflecting on the water, or a couple of times a perfectly round head popping up 10ish yards away from me (! - a sea lion was surfing with me!) -- something would cause me to lose my train of thought and come back to the present. Over and over. So I would just watch the water and feel its rhythm under me and stay in the moment. It's really one of the many gifts of surfing: an inability to be anywhere but right here, right now.
When I was finally done, I huffed it back to the surf shop, board on head, and was met by the owner. He asked how it was, and I asked why in the hell I've been dealing with the crowds at the cove this whole time. He said, "Yeah, we keep this spot to ourselves." Consider my mouth shut. Awesome day gets better? He showed me the secret warm outdoor shower he has around the side of the shop and told me I could use it. I mean, honestly. My "shower" usually consists of me dumping a gallon of water from an old plastic milk jug over my head, à la Flashdance, in the parking lot at the cove. Nice to drive home less of a mess than usual.
It was a really beautiful day and I feel like my little heart hasn't even grasped the beauty of it. I'm super grateful to have gotten out today, and for the kindness of the shop owner.