Nick and his friend really, really, really wanted to surf the Jetty. The swell had too much north wind on it, judging from the buoys, but I said we could go check it out. Since deadline demands my attention Sundays, the surf would be a short one anyway, so better to let them experience the Jetty quickly rather than spend an hour driving back and forth to Moonstone.

And a learning experience it was. First, in varying attitudes among surfers and why you should always check the waves yourself.

As we unloaded the gear in the Jetty lot, a lone guy stomped back into the parking area. “You might as well put that stuff back and leave,” he shouted. “It looks like a toilet out there.” His bitterness undermined the boys’ enthusiasm somewhat. I said we should still check and not worry. As we walked out, the boys talked waves, jostling their boards under their arms, hopping around the jetty cracks and holes, yelling “dolphins” when one would pop up in the harbor entrance. About halfway there, a white SUV heading away stopped; DB jumped out and ran around to say, “You’re going to have so much fun! It’s getting better!” Now, that was more like it!

The second part of the learning experience occurred in the water. The Jetty was junky but consistently peaking up – the kind of surf that’s good practice and occasionally rewarding. The sets came in about shoulder-high to me (head-high to the boys) but relatively gentle. Not particularly big, but intimidating with all the whitewater crashing all around. The boys called it “tiny” from the beach but looking up from a prone position, fighting through the impact zone, and feeling the currents push and pull them out of place eroded their cockiness a bit. Each managed to catch a wave after a while, then they both caught a wall of whitewater in and goofed around on the inside until they reached the beach. I watched them get to shore, relieved they didn’t get caught in the side current and pushed back into the outgoing channel. The currents triangulate along the shore, along the jetty and with the incoming waves; if you’re not paying attention, you’ll get pushed and pulled back out to sea when you’d hoped to exit the water.

I caught a couple waves to make the time count as a session, then went in myself. We scored a ride back to the parking lot – yay! – and left with the boys feeling triumphant.