After returning from San Diego, I worked like a madwoman for two-and-a-half days to get my pages done so we could get out of town to the Noll Longboard contest. (I was up at 5:30 a.m. finishing my story on the Bay District meeting, so please read it in this week’s Eye!)

Luckily we traveled separately; Bobby, Chelsea and Nick went up Friday afternoon with friends, then K and I met them up there Saturday late morning. (K did quite well in her heat and advanced to the semi-finals.) I say luckily, because even though Saturday was PERFECT weather and waves, Sunday brought that downpour, which eliminated both the socializing – everyone huddled in their trucks – and the surfing – cause the waves ended up blown out – which meant I had little reason to stay after K was knocked out of the running for a trophy. I gathered her, her friend, our stuff, and cut and run for home.

Back to Saturday, though: I haven’t seen South Beach that good in at least a year. Amazing. The peak just south of the contest fired off right after right, peeled all the way to the beach. The water stayed clear, glassy and warm enough that I went without booties. All the kids surfed for fun; Kaylee managed to place third in her heat – she’s out of the “menahune” (kids) division and into “gals” – sending her into semi-finals the next morning. We try to focus on the good-time aspect, but of course doing well is rewarding, too.

The initial heat was grouped by age, which resulted in five girls fairly evenly matched (and one clear beginner), but the semi-final involved women of all ages competing against each other. Kaylee did her best, but the combination of closing-out waves and surfing against people with decades more experience resulted in her finishing sixth out of six. She was fine, though – she’s a great sport and felt good about the waves she did catch. Fortunately for her, the wind hadn’t come up and the sky was only overcast at that point.

But then the rain started, providing the flip side to Saturday’s sunshine. We huddled by our beach fire – South Beach looked like it had been bombed what with all the smoldering ruins everywhere – but within an hour, my pants were soaked. Back at the campground, the wind blew the tarps off the tops of the tents, drenching everything inside. Normally we stay through the award ceremony, but this year, it was just too much for me. Bobby stayed to see our friend’s son win his first surf trophy. Chelsea stayed to hang out with her friends (I was impressed by her commitment to this event) and see how they did. But Kaylee and I drove our sopping selves home, where I unloaded the damp sleeping bags and the dripping tents, then built our first fire of the season.