Far, far short of my goal (163), but so it goes. I still found myself in the ocean 73 times this year, which is much better than not at all.

So pretty.

#72: One of those places you go when it’s huge everywhere else. One of those days where I point out every five minutes, “It’s so beautiful!” One of those sessions where the waves crank out as if someone dropped a quarter into a wave-generating machine. They weren’t very big — they were the opposite of big, coming in waist-high, but zippy and peeling, and best of all, the only people in the water were me, my son, four good friends and a couple locals. One of those days where I point out every five minutes, “This is so fun!”

And after, Mexican food. Yes, a fine, fine day.

#73: The year could’ve ended on a better note. I’ve worked on coming to terms with the overcrowding at Camel with some success — mostly due to owning a big, cruisy board and a new willingness to sit more competitively. But sometimes, the constant dodging of other surfers while riding waves — “threading the needle,” as a friend calls it — detracts from the usual bliss of being in this moment on this wave. Typically, being on a wave brings me right into that moment; all else falls away as the world narrows to me, my board, the ocean. Skirting other people’s heads and boards adds a heightened sense of awareness in a way, but not in a way I’m looking for. I didn’t stay out long — and for all my crowd-crankiness, I ended up in the right place at the right time. Another sunny day about to end in a spectacular sunset, water glittering, a mid-sized wave peaking up between sets, too early for the folks hanging right on the rock, it delivered itself to me — thank you, ocean! — and then, there I was, carried along the peeling face for forever (about 20 seconds in surf-time). So, a pretty sweet wrap-up to the year after all.