Sometimes it’s good just to get in the water.

I could use the exercise.

Paddling around is better than nothing.

Maybe it’s better than it looks.

I’ve never improved by standing on the beach.

This is how I ended up on the beach with a couple friends this morning, looking at a stupid, ugly, junky, sloppy, mushy swell. The sky was gray, the water murky and we’re halfway into July with endless overcast and north winds that just won’t quit. I love Humboldt, I do, and I wouldn’t trade the fog for the heat, but July is my breaking point. I start panicking. What if summer never comes? 

I know it will. In September. But a day or two of blue sky, sunshine and no north wind on the outer waters would be a kiss from God at this point.

However! Proving that paddling out, especially with good sports, is almost always better than not, I ended up making a drop I wasn’t expecting to, it was good to get in the water, the exercise did do me good, paddling around searching for a peak was much preferred to sorting laundry at home and, while it wasn’t better than it looked, I managed to find a couple waves that made the going out worth it and a few more that reminded me I need all the practice I can get.

Paddled out dodging roly-poly waves breaking in the channel and found a place that seemed reasonably consistent peak-wise. Within a few minutes, I picked off a brief, bumpy right.

A set came, I paddled for what looked like a left, the wave standing up faster than the previous ones, fast enough I was unsure I’d make it. Ended up standing up looking down a ledge and somehow finding myself sliding down it, my body more confident than I’d expected. I looked left, cut right and ended up exactly where I needed to be, both on the wave and in the proverbial moment.

Triumph was short-lived however, as I kooked out hard on the next one, falling off when I should’ve been standing up.

I alternated like that over the next few waves, and then a lull set in and the current picked up — or maybe I just noticed it more because I was getting tired. The ocean surface slapped and pitched, messy with lumps. I looked for a last wave. Found one. The best of the session — a head-high left that held up almost all the way to the beach.

Sometimes finding fun means figuring out the right way to look for it.