The junky north wind swell would’ve kept me home, but I’d promised a friend I’d go, so off we went to the place where I caught my very first real wave 12 years ago. The landscape is the same, but the sandbar from that golden summer has never quite set up again — the sea floor is as fluid as the ocean above it and one season’s magic is rarely created, especially with so little structural elements to help guide the sand into a useful position.

But I digress.

Lugged the longboard down the stairs, paddled easily to the outside, spent several minutes trying to propel myself into the mushy micro waves, decided today would be a good day to go leashless.

My friend loves to be in the ocean. Her contentment colored my own view rosy. I caught little waves, swam after my board a couple times, managed to pearl once and somersault underwater so fiercely that seawater fell out of my nose for hours after. I laughed a lot. Mostly I admired the seastacks and pelicans. I reminisced about that first wave, the surprise of turning left and finding myself on a little blue wave face after a couple months of riding whitewater. The board slid so smoothly. I hadn’t known it could be like that.

And then all I ever wanted was more.