In the amount of time I spend perusing Salon.com, other blogs and social network sites, I could be writing every day, which would make me feel far more accomplished than any of the above activities, quality of work notwithstanding. What is so wrong with my head that I continue Behavior B when I know Behavior A would get me what I want? I think I’ve been here before.
Anyway, surf. Twice I drove out with the 7’8″ gun, convincing myself along the way that this would be a day I went big. Twice the sheer burliness of the waves combined with the fact that they were breaking all over the place, including in the channel, sent me home dry and at peace with my decision to give an asskicking a pass.
But surf session #48? That was a silly surf in the bay. Sketchiness and novelty. Two friends who enjoy that sort of thing called me up, gave me directions to a parking lot over by Palco Marsh. I pulled in between a couple cars, looked left, looked right, noted the difference between pulling up in a beach parking lot and a backside-of-Eureka parking lot and promptly relocated closer to my friends’ cars. Suffered an acute sense of vulnerability changing into my wetsuit. Fog hovered around the bay, accentuating my uncertainty of where to go. My desire to scratch this whole experience and go home for a long, hot shower amplified when I started trekking through the muck to cross over to where I assumed Stinky’s Beach might be found. Gross. And where were these supposed friends of mine?
Then, as if I’d fallen into Mists of Avalon, a silhouette emerged from the drifting gray. A rower. A paddler. A SUP. With another shape advancing horizontally behind him. My friends… leaving! At this point, I was committed to seeing the adventure through, so convinced the surfer friend to return across the sand spit and show me where to go. Once we arrived, I did appreciate the sense of away fostered by being out alone in the midst of the bay on this strange little nugget of beach. After a half-hour or so of non-awesome waves, we slogged back, took another look at the festering parking lot and opted to drive home in our wetsuits rather than change in that scene. Along the way, windows down to let the combined stink of wet wetsuit and bay mud escape, I thought about how nice having a safe little beach accessible from Eureka would be. If the surrounding area wasn’t so sketchy and the spot wasn’t so difficult to reach, families could have a charming place to take their kids without having to worry about big waves and icy water or driving all the way around the bay to find something similar.
Session #49: Quick surf at Camel, swell running 6@18, making things work surprisingly well at the higher tide. Nothing mindblowing, but some good practice making drops and staying in shape. Best moment arrived in the form of a bodyboarder kicking around the outside asking me, “Are you ever worried about sharks?” Not with you nearby, buddy….
Session #50: Bay Street. A hard-running longshore current combined with my ambivalence to commitment resulted in a zero wave session. Sad. This shouldn’t even count.
Session #50 (redux): Bay Street. This time, I committed. Despite the now-howling south wind, I scored a long beautiful right. A long beautiful left. Few other fun ones. Ended up wiping out on my last wave as the board skipped, bump bumpa bump bump down the wave, bucking me off into a side flop into the breaking wave. Torso stinging, I called it a day and let the rest of the set wash me toward shore.
Session #51: Sometimes a longboard proves to be the exact right piece of equipment. I already love the 8’0″ cruiser Taylor I bought earlier this year, but yesterday’s perfection expanded the home I’ve made in my heart for that particular combination of foam and fiberglass. A longboard was needed to catch even the overhead waves – and then they would go and go and go and go as if the ocean and I had all the time in the world to get to know each other. I stayed out until I could paddle no more.
(Someday I will use my actual camera for pretty pictures. Until then, I can only offer the substandard iPhone photos.)