Surfed yesterday – that makes 8 sessions for the year so far, out of 37 days. Not a good percentage, but then again, January is never an easy month given the dark, the cold and the typically too-big-for-me waves.

Bobby was kind enough to take the kids to school, giving me a head start to the Jetty. I’d heard the past two days were classic: head-high, clean, easy and consistent with long, long rights. Perfect. I shrugged my backpack on, picked up my board, locked my car, started plowing through the sand to the concrete walkway as fast as I could. I saw trucks and surfers in the distance, filling me with certainty that this was going to be a great session. Within three minutes, someone I knew stopped to offer a ride – yay! More time saved. We drove out… to surf that was not at all what I’d expected.
Small. Choppy. Closing out. Breaking all over. Disappointment washed over me like those messy waves in my view. If I hadn’t put so much effort into making sure I could squeeze in a session, I probably would’ve turned around and left. The guys I was standing with decided to pass, driving down to Bunkers instead, where a few people were surfing the far outside peak. I didn’t have time for the Bunkers paddle – and tend to shy away from that spot anyway – so I decided I’d just paddle out at the Jetty, get some exercise, come in, head to KSLG.

From the channel, I scanned every breaking wave for a shoulder. No luck. I paddled over to where two other surfers sat waiting. A set came; I caught a chest-high wave that closed out almost immediately, leaving me in a mess of whitewater. Spent the next 10 minutes or so on the Jetty treadmill repeating the experience. At least I was getting some practice in, I figured. My pop-ups definitely need the work; right now I get up like the old lady with back pain that I am.

And then, as sometimes happens, everything changed. The tide began to push in. The wind ceased varying and the ocean smoothed out. Another set came. I caught a lovely shoulder-high wave that offered up a long, pretty shoulder. Everything clicked, like it does when I’m surfing regularly. Sleek and quick, with enough time to consciously enjoy and think about what I’m doing – it was such a big feeling for that small wave, that small moment. All a session needs to be worth the effort is one wave that gives me that sensation, that puts me in that place.

I even made it to the station (just barely) on time.