Broke another dry spell with an amazingly fun surf last Sunday. No shortage of people, but fortunately no shortage of waves either. Gunmetal gray skies gave way to sunshine; a few showers and increasing offshore winds prevented any sense of summer from settling in. Trucks scattered across the unseasonably soft sand – I’ve never seen so many trucks stuck, especially surfer rigs. Typically the folks who get stuck are the ones with new SUVs that think 4WD means they can power offroad at any time, no problem. I admit I’ve felt smug upon seeing an Escalade high-centered on a dune where the driver shouldn’t have even been – and that’s before I had a truck of my own.
Of course, I nearly ended up stuck myself as I was leaving – the sense to lay off the gas and accept a shove from some friends kept me from joining the other diggers on the sand.
But between arriving and departing manifested two hours of deeply needed pleasure. Yes, I clunked my way into the first few waves before a semblance of grace kicked in. Yes, I stayed out too long, hoping to catch that last great wave in, and wound up caught inside a double-over set, then spun around, ice water flushing my suit, freezing my brain like ice picks into my head – I thought I might heave from the cold-induced nausea. None of that mattered.
(OK, the extremely kooky late drop consisting of me paddling into a near-vertical wave, somehow landing with both feet on the tail, which kept the nose up, miraculously meaning I made the drop, arms windmilling the whole time, realizing I needed to step a foot forward before all my weight on the back of the board effectively braked me out of the wave, managing to throw my left foot to the nose, which kept me going down the face, but in a really, really dorky stance that I tried to correct by twisting and dropping my back knee, arms still swinging wildly and me laughing the whole time because it was all so ridiculous – that mattered.)
What really mattered was the moment between rights, when I found myself floating in the channel – no need to paddle with that current – happy with the wave I’d just caught, enjoying watching the other surfers draw lines across the ocean. The rest of the world receded. I felt it sure as if I’d slipped off a heavy coat. Down to the essential, blissful in the moment. Heavenly.