I can’t sew.

What does that have to do with surfing?

Well, the residual relaxation wore off as I attempted to finish a sewing project – a project about as simple as one can get regarding needle and thread. My mood ended up as twisted, knotty and ugly as the seams I’d expected to turn out straight and smooth.

But, let me try to recapture.

Home from radio with a miraculous three obligation-free hours. Sure, I could’ve mopped the floor, pulled weeds or attended to any numerous household obligations, but with the kids in afterschool sports and my Eye week not starting till tomorrow, I forced myself to walk away from the tedium and drive up to Camel Rock.Bumpy and semi-junky, low tide so high that Wash Rock was but an occasional suggestion of foam during the bigger sets. A half-dozen surfers crowded Gremmie Cove, catching waves off the inner big rock. Another half-dozen paddled around down the beach at Moonstone, but a few moments of observation sent me to the Camel Parking lot. I had about an hour of “free” time remaining. In the 10 minutes it took me to suit up and walk down, the number of surfers in the water had dwindled to two. One guy who knew what he was doing and one who did not.

I caught a wave right away.

Then another. Kinda like sliding down a flight of stairs: ker-bump, ker-bump, ker-bump.

Then a third, a set wave breaking slowly but surely, maybe a bit overhead. No worries about taking off late – but the mushiness deceived, because once it started breaking, the energy built quickly. Zip! Reminiscent of a Jetty right, only closing out. I stayed on too long and had to paddle through a bunch of whitewater to get back out. My arms feel strong – regular weight-lifting hasn’t trimmed me down any, but definitely has boosted my muscle power.

The other two guys left. I had the place to myself. In all its gray and lumpy glory. 

Fourth wave, another fast drop to the right, around the foaming lip to the face, then up and over the back with enough speed that my body flew into the air. I grinned to feel gravity’s brief release.

Knowing the next wave would be my last, I waited for a sizable set. Didn’t take too long as, even with the incoming tide, the swell seemed to be picking up. (This was one of the rare times that thinking, “One more and I’ll go in” didn’t result in the ocean going flat.) Chunky and ugly, but definitely overhead and coming in at exactly the right speed – yet another quick paddle, pop and slide. Right, left, right, left… I cruised my way to shore, hopping off in knee-deep foam.

Anyone watching from the overlook would’ve seen a mediocre surfer on mediocre waves. Anyone watching from the water would’ve seen a smile on my face so big that it turned everything beautiful.