Exactly what I needed – once I’d purchased the new booties and gloves. Ah, gloves. I’d never found a pair I could stand. Typically, I’d paddle out with them, last about five minutes before feeling like I was carrying water balloons in my hands, then take them off and stuff them in my hood, which meant losing my head protection. But with the water at 48 and the air at 40, I knew I wouldn’t last at all without them. So I cashed in my birthday gift card (thanks, Nick!) at Greenhouse and bought badly needed new booties and some Excel drylock gloves. Amazing! My hands weighed more than I would’ve liked, but the gloves fit snugly and kept my fingers from going numb.

In fact, I’ve never had a decent wetsuit, new booties and new gloves all at the same time. Wow. So that’s what it’s like to be warm, even in 48 degree water. Pretty nice. I didn’t go under till near the end of my session and when my face connected with the water, I almost threw up from the cold. To state the obvious: warm is good; freezing, bad.

The sun shone so brightly that from inside a house or car, one would expect warmth upon entering the outside world. But no. I arrived, glanced at the ocean just long enough to note people were out and the waves weren’t huge. After the ten-minute process of covering my body with neoprene – interrupted by the inevitable person commenting on the NCJ story – I practically skipped to the ocean’s edge, so happy to be surfing. The waves offered up were exactly what I needed: a little overhead, but soft enough that no takeoff was too late. My current style is best described as “stiff from not surfing enough”; nonetheless, I had fun. There was this one wave… there has to be that one wave, you know?… where even though I knew I could make it, I wasn’t sure I would… but I did… and managed to bottom turn around the breaking part into the face… and crest back up to the lip, then fly down… such tiny little moments… no one watching would think beyond the fact that I’m pretty dorky on a wave… but I was too busy loving what I was doing to think about anything else at all.