Both sessions at semi-crowded Camel Rock. Saturday’s waves ranged from waist-to-head-high. I thought I’d arrived too late for the tide, but plenty of waves remained. Due to a board shortage (Nick’s still needing repair, mine needing fins), I took the longboard, which has cracks of its own in the tail – that’s what surf stickers are for, right? Insta-repair. Luckily, I had some in the car. Unfortunately, I forgot both a leash and wax. Surfing leashless certainly keeps me even more in the moment;  you have to know exactly where your board is in relation to wave and body every instant. No half-hearted take-offs allowed. Most of the time, I enjoy the freedom and slightly faster paddling ability. But short on wax, too? Sounded like I might be cruisin’ for a bruisin’. Totally fun, though – and plenty of waves. Turning the longboard remains a mystifying feat. With my 7’6″, I twist and point, and the board comes right along with me. With the longboard, I twist and point, and wonder why I’m still headed straight to shore, whitewater catching up to me and bucking me off the board. By the time I figure how to shift my weight futher back and pivot, the wave’s energy has dissipated. Still, good practice. And good fun – and I didn’t lose the board until my final wave. (I watched it bounce along toward the rocks, but just as I covered my eyes – not an easy feat while swimming – the wave receded, pulling it away from doom and back to me. Whew.)

The next day, the swell had picked up, running head-high-to-a-few-feet-over. Head-high when we checked the cam and a few-feet-over after we’d paddled out. A later look at the buoy confirmed the 5 at 11 had grown to 6 at 18 exactly as we were suiting up. Thinking the waves would stay small, Bobby and I took Nick out. He did great, catching overhead waves and riding them all the way in. But I kept worrying he’d get cleaned up inside a set, so I spent the whole time hovering around him instead of catching waves myself – which really pissed Nick off. “I’m not a baby,” he said. “I’m fine out here,” he said. “You don’t have to stay with me,” he said. But I couldn’t abandon him to the outside, not with the growing sets bouncing off the rock, the line-up paddling ever further out to sea. (Bobby, meanwhile, had one of his best sessions ever.) I did get to watch Nick catch overhead peeling rights and lefts, the biggest waves he’s caught, and look great on them. He’d finish, turn around with a giant grin. Golden moments.

I’ll catch more waves next time.