#32: Oof. When your friends that surf tell you the evening before to expect shoulder-high longboarding conditions and you show up to see a near double-o set barreling through, you may experience the following reaction: “YES!” Or, you might be like me and think, “Ack!” and wish you’d brought your gun and a different mindset. And then paddle out on your 7’6″ funboard anyway to catch a few non-set waves and freak out about the color of the sky, how it goes from a purple so hazy you can barely see the pulp mill to the north into a lighter purple to a deep blue overhead fading to a lighter blue as your glance turns southward to the jetty above which is now yellow-green and behind which gold and orange flare. You know words will not do it justice, but you try to describe the scene to yourself in your mind in hopes of relating later anyway. You exit the water wishing you were braver, wishing you had more words.

#33: You get up and dawn patrol because you are going to be braver today. And you are. You note the waves are soft despite their size and remember you’ve caught a hundred waves like these and what is wrong with your head that you keep regressing into such a scaredy cat? You take your longboard because you’re tired and because the waves are soft and you paddle out and and you see many friends – these are your people – and one of them hoots you into a wave right away, a happymaking right, and you catch another and another and you aren’t scared at all, because why would you be scared doing something you’ve done a hundred times before even if the sets are head-and-a-half and you get caught inside a couple times with your longboard, never fun, but you recover and once you even turn and catch a set wave because you’re the only one positioned and it’s glorious but also bumpy like you’re surfing down a staircase, but whatever. You catch waves until you can’t lift your arms and your calves cramp. You are still only competent at best, but competent is fun and the sun is out and the ocean is glimmering and your life is beautiful right now.