3 at 10 usually equals small (waist-to-chest-high) surf. But if the sand bar’s set up a certain way and the swell’s hitting just so, the result can be “pumping,” as one experienced surfer noted yesterday evening. In my rush, I’d left my leash at home. Bobby noticed, but thinking we’d be in micro surf, I shrugged it off. That was my first mistake. The second one was trying to surf a shortboard break with floaty funboards. Not that my 7’5″ is a shortboard – technically, it’s a funboard, too – but at least it’s got some rocker and less nose to try shoving under oncoming waves. That one is still injured, however, so the board of choice is my (very fine) 7’6″ roundnosed superfun board.

The sun’s out, the air is almost unbelievably warm and the wind is nonexistent. We pull up at Bay Street’s nice, new parking lot expecting a clear view of the ocean. Instead a wall of fog stands on top of the ocean, neatly dividing sea from sand. The sun shone behind the fog. The resultant glare blinded us even further as we vainly looked for a line-up in the dazzling mist. We knew people were out there – the trucks in the parking lot confirmed it. Finally our eyes adjusted enough that an occasional silhouette of a surfer S-curving down a wave face could be seen. The view was two-tone, gold-and-gray. The scene reminded me of the psychedelic film moments in Morning of the Earth. “Should we just paddle out?” we asked each other. After 10 minutes of listing the pros and cons, we decided, “What the heck – let’s give it a go.”

As we suited up, the fog began to evaporate; by the time we stepped into the water, the cloud had dispersed. The normal blues of sky and ocean returned. We saw about 10 people out, spread across two, maybe three peaks. These peaks were not the small ones I’d imagined when I impatiently blew off my leash – the sets came in a bit overhead. Granted, most the guys out were all kinda shorter and skinnier and of the hotshot shortboarder variety – those little guys and tiny boards can make the waves look bigger is what I’m saying – but still, these waves were standing up fast and steep, not exactly the easy-peasy surf I’d normally go leashless in. (“Easy-peasy” being relative, of course. I am still such a beginner.)

Regardless, we paddled out, the buzz of the pulp mill like bees in our ears interrupted by the crash of the waves. Bzzzz-crash-bzzzz-crash-bzzzz.

Bobby caught a nice left. I paddled for a couple rights, but didn’t get into them, then a set caught me inside. Because I had my floatier board, I couldn’t dive under the waves, but instead was pushed halfway back to shore. This experience continued to define my surf session.

After exiting in a rather depressed state of mind, I watched the shortboarders zipping across (and up and down and back and forth) wave face after wave face, the sun now low on the horizon and outlining everything in gold. Beautiful. We took our salty selves homes, hoping to do better next time.