So that's why I surf. I'd almost forgotten; it's been so long.
I went to bed relatively early last night with the intention of getting in the water no matter what. If it was shorebreak, I'd paddle. If it was flat, I'd paddle. If it was windy... you get the idea. Lots of false starts with my alarm this morning. It was set for 6am and I woke up to all the disturbing in-depth news Amy Goodman could tell me on KPFK. I had a vague thought that there was plenty of light to already be in the water if the temperature was 65 degrees, so SNOOZE.
Nine minutes later, I assessed the light and my bladder. SNOOZE.
Nine minutes later, I actually sat up. Still waffling. And cold. I buried myself back under the down comforter and flannel sheets. SNOOZE.
Nine minutes later, my brain was actually awake enough to guilt me into getting up. Or maybe that was my bladder that did the trick.
At the beach, I did what I told myself I wouldn't do. I went to the end of the boardwalk and looked at it. Mushy, shifty. I'm goin' home. Frank's suiting up with a student in the parking lot. I reconsider and continue staring at the water. How cold is that water? I'm goin' home. Gloved Guy just got an okay inside wave. I reconsider. It's been almost a month since I last surfed, do I want this to be my comeback? I'm goin' home.
This inner dialogue goes on in my head for about ten minutes, even while I'm heading back to the car. For some reason, I suit up and head out. And I'm glad I did. Yeah it was cold, yeah there were lulls, yeah it was mushy. But every so often there'd be a nice peaky wave with lots of oomph and a surprising shoulder. My first wave opened up to a shoulder I couldn't believe. It flattened out in sections, but I actually remembered how to turn Doc and keep him in trim to find the nice fast pocket again. Oh yeah... I forgot how good that felt!
(It's like when you don't have sex for a while and you forget to miss it?)
My second wave was a weird one that spat me out a little just after my pop-up. I was surprised to literally drop. I think the thing bounced or hollowed a little, or both and my board lost some contact with the water. Luckily I kept my balance and was able to come back up a little, but my bad habit of dropping too far was remembered.
Then I took a series of close-outs that were just fun.
Through the lull, I watched a seal harass the boys. It tickled the feet of the Architect, but the seal REALLY liked Gloved Guy.
My time was close to up, so I paddled away from the crowd and closer toward the boardwalk, and the ocean threw up this NICE wave, all mine. Nice push and a shoulder I could see forever. I was so surprised, I had a bottleneck of thoughts go through my head: You should really do some top turns... This has got to close out somewhere... I can't believe I'm still going... You still haven't done anything with this wave... Shut up, I'm enjoying the ride... No don't kick out there, see it opens up again... You know you're going to want to paddle back out after this... Totally awesome! I want another one of these... Don't paddle back out... I still can't believe I'm on this wave... This is obviously the best wave you'll have, so don't paddle back out... Resist, resist... This wave is so long I'm actually aware of having this inner dialogue... Okay, you're almost at the beach and you'd better kick out now because that shorebreak looks awful.
Seriously, that was one of the best waves I'd had in a long time. And all that really was going through my head.
I didn't paddle back out.
PS. I whistle when I surf. I don't know why and I usually don't consciously choose the tune. The song in my head this morning? "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra.