#52: College Cove. Why would I choose a place clearly meant for only the most desperate of times? Oh, sure College Cove has its defenders, but I remain unconvinced, having spent enough hours getting pummelled into the sand, flushed end-over-end as the cove drains and fills, being stupidly tumbled and tangled as knee-deep turns into overhead shore pound as a set funnels in. Once my leash wrapped around my finger as the wave tore my board from my grasp and flung it toward shore – I seriously thought my hand was going to be ripped from my arm. Many of these situations can be attributed to the fact that I typically only wind up in CC when the swell is huge; the cove may be protected, but the ocean’s power is not fully mitigated.

However, on a more mid-sized day, skinny shortboarders and the grom squad can happily spend a couple hours dropping into pitching close-outs. This is a true thing that I witnessed Thursday when a bunch of Nick’s friends hit the cove. It was my birthday, but he’d had one the week before, scoring a badly needed new wetsuit that he badly needed to try out. My plan was only to slog to the outside, play lifeguard from there, but I did somehow find myself on a wave. No one was more surprised than me.

#53: Power Poles. Surfing is the stupidest addiction ever. I mean, really. Anything else, if I do it hundreds of times, I become good at it. If this were any other “sport,” I’d be seriously competent. But all the time and money and effort I’ve poured into finding, catching and riding waves and I still suck. What the hell is wrong with me? (Answer: I don’t surf enough. And because I don’t surf enough, my late-blooming skills deteriorate. And then because my surfing isn’t up to par, I don’t sit as critically, don’t surf as agressively, and therefore, catch fewer, lower quality waves. And because I’m not putting myself where I should, my surfing doesn’t improve as quickly as I need it to. So I leave disappointed in myself and sad about the state of my ability.)

I really miss having someone to surf with. The best phases of my surfing life have come about from surfing regularly with people who are much better than I am (but friendly enough to not mind me tagging along). I surfed more and, because the only choice was to step up, surfed better. The rewards continued even when I’d go out by myself; the confidence carried over into sessions even when I didn’t know anyone out.