surf sessions #23, 24, 25, 26 (part one)

Am I really that far behind? Why hasn’t life slowed down? Isn’t that the point of summer? What happened to June?! Oh, yeah… softball and baseball. Days like today, when I’ll be driving from Manila to Ferndale back to Manila to Eureka to McKinleyville back to Manila. And no, another option isn’t possible. So let’s see, that’s… about $12 in gas. But all for a good cause. Causes.

Some driving guilt crept in yesterday morning, when I drove from my house to the Jetty looking for surf. In the truck, that’s about 16 miles, about $4. If I’d surfed, I wouldn’t have minded. But the swell, albeit clean as it gets, rolled in too tiny and southerly to have drawn anyone else to the beach. The knee-high waves glistened like liquid glass (cliché, I know, but that’s what they look like!) beckoning me to take a chance on fun – but, skittish of surfing alone, I didn’t. Wuss! I used to surf by myself often; on a day like yesterday, I would have walked the half-mile from my house to the beach.

I’m guessing half-a-mile – probably a quarter by the crow – takes eight-to-10 minutes to walk there in any case. Takes 15 to drive out to the Jetty. I do love the Jetty – but skipping the whole driving thing, walking out from the house, wow. That’s a beautiful thing to be able to do.

So today, mad at myself for letting fear get the better of me yesterday, I lugged my board and wetsuit “out front.” Ha! Joke’s on me – tide a little lower, wind a little northier, morning a little sicker. My stuff ended up tucked against a stump while Sandy and I strolled along water’s edge. In the words of Fleetwood Mac, Oh, well.

Still, pulled off a few surfs in recent memory.

#23: Moonstone. Nick and I went to check the waves while K partook in her usual Saturday morning horseback riding. The buoys read small but decent interval. 2 at 16? 3 at 14? Something like that. Nick, surprisingly, whined about being “tired” and that it was “probably too small” anyway. I responded with something along the lines of “Shut up and suit up,” followed by, “I’m serious,” and then, “I can’t believe you’re making me insist you surf. It’s superclean! And small! Perfectly fun! We don’t have a lot of time! Hurry up!”

Fortunately, before my voice rose loud enough to alert the dozens of other beachgoers in the Moonstone parking lot into calling CPS (“She was making him surf! We’ve never seen such cruelty!”), a couple of Nick’s surf camp instructors happened by, wearing huge post-session smiles. “It’s so fun!” They said. “Nick, it’s perfect! You should get out there right now.” They only came in because they were so worn out from all the hours of wave-catching.

Finally properly motivated, the boy tugged into his suit. We marched out across the sand and strode into the water, eyeing the smooth, consistent, waist-high lefts and rights the ocean offered up. “Ha! I can’t believe you were going to pass this up!” I scolded Nick. He gave me an eye-roll, then paddled out faster than I could keep up with him, stroked into position and caught a beautiful right with barely any effort at all.

Yes, it was fun. (And, yes, I made him admit that Mom Was Right. More than once.) So fun, in fact, that when we had to leave to pick up K, Nick asked if we could come back and I agreed. We unsuited, fetched Kaylee, drove home for something or another, took her to Arcata, bought some snacks and returned to Moonstone to find…

(#24) … the tide had come in and the wind had picked up. Nonetheless, we suited up – wet suits are so much fun to put on! Nothing quite as marvelous as stretching dripping neoprene over your goosebumped skin, especially while in the middle of a parking lot packed with wedding revelers – and paddled back out. Within 10 minutes, the fog rolled in so thick, the beach became only the barest outline. I felt sorry for the folks on the sand, those who had taken the morning’s sunshine as some sort of promise of a pretty day, now huddled with their beach blankets wrapped around them, children crying to go home.

The only plus to the fog was it obscured how crappy the waves had truly become. Nick and I looked at each other, our expression mirrored on the other’s face. The look that says, “I’m done with this. I’m catching a wave in.” And so we did. As we sloshed our way back to the car, we shared a laugh, too. Talk about skunked! But the good feelings from the earlier morning still outshone our disappointment.

(Sessions #25 and #26 will have to come later – time to swing into work action!)

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