Yesterday's key to success.


Woke up to cloudless sky, balmy morning and a windless swell running 6@12. Powered through the inevitable chores, directive to “go surf” kept high in mind. A friend reported “fun and empty.”

Arrived at the beach to “fun,” but on a sunny Saturday midday overhead-high swell, a crowd was inevitable. At least a dozen guys lined the outside as I paddled out; by the time I left, over 20 surfers angled for the waves. Since I knew most of them, I spent as much time chatting as paddling for the pretty swells rolling in. I didn’t catch as many waves as I felt I should have, mostly from a failure to sit deep enough at first — “deep” being a relative term on this longboardy day — but as the session went on, I dialed into a better position and picked up several rights.

Rights! So often the lefts are what’s working. Fine — I need to work on my backside, sure. And all the going left has improved my ability to do so. But going right, everything just clicks. And the drops were fun and fast, the face steadily offering up a playground (on which better surfers made styley cuts, whereas I simply guided my board back to the top so I could drop back down and enjoy the slight rush of doing so — my longboard skills are limited). Caught a couple set waves, was nailed inside once, which not only involved taking a wave on the head, but, after shoving my board over the top of the wave, the ocean sucked me up into the breaking wave, sent me over the falls and down to the ocean floor for the longest hold-down I’ve experienced in a while. My ears ached and my neck hurts today — the former need checking for surfer’s ear and arnica is helping the latter.

No matter about that, though. What I most remember is the sunshine, warmth, camaraderie, consistency and those oh-so-lovely moments of gliding along the waves. Every time I surf, I wonder why I don’t surf more.