Saturday, January 24, 2009

Surf contest

No, not really. But it was my first time surfing with L. in months, the first time since she's gotten better.

Though she is still a wimp. Here's what happened: we went in together and she got three rides in about fifteen or twenty minutes. I didn't get any. It usually takes me about that long just to figure out the waves.

So she won the first heat. But then she quit after only twenty minutes---after spending over an hour getting suited, driving to the beach, etc.

I got going after she left, and got a ton of rides in the next two hours. Yeah, things went good today---maybe because the wind was onshore? Because the waves were so small? Because I am Bizarro Surfer who can only ride in adverse wind and poopy waves? Who knows? The most challenging part of today turned out to be getting the surfboard home safely in wind that threatened to carry me off like the Flying Nun.

I didn't get cold and I had fun and I surely won the last seventeen surf heats.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural surf

In the interest of full disclosure, I am obliged to report that I sucked today.

It's because the waves were more than two feet. I still don't get it when the waves get over two feet. It's a whole different game.

Plus my gloves weren't warm enough and I had to quit early. My fingers actually hurt for a while afterwards.

The plus side was a guy I haven't seen since the summer took pity on me and was trying to help me out---offering me the best spot, telling me when to go. He finally had to conclude that I needed more help than he could offer. Sadly, he's right. It was embarrassing but I think I learned a little (about how much I suck).

Even more depressing (for me) is that L. has returned from a two week surf trip a much better surfer than she was---and than I am. This always happens with my surf buddies---sooner or later they surpass me and then it becomes difficult to surf together. L. is now up to eight foot waves. Ah, shit. I mean, Great!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold, schmold

Here's one of many reasons I love living at the beach: in the middle of a snowy 19 degree day in January, when surfing is the last thing on my mind and has been for some time because I have been so busy, I can be coming back from the grocery store with a huge bag of stuff and run into T., a local surfer, all suited up and with board in arm, who notifies me of the sighting of small waves, and all of a sudden my day can change from putting the groceries and laundry away to...something else.

It doesn't happen all at once, but little by little all excuses for not surfing melt away. Chores? Phone calls? Too much work? Nothing that can't wait.

The biggest excuse of all..too cold.

I seriously considered that one for a while.

I have never been out in 19 degrees before. I don't think I've ever been out when the air temperature was below 30. I had set that as my limit, the sanity stop-point on the "You surf in the winter? You're crazy"-o-meter.

But there was T., in the water when I looked out my window. And in short order he was joined by 4 others, all getting nice rides on the little waves. The wind was light and almost perfect.

So I caved, and set a new world record for the coldest surf ever.

What a good idea that turned out to be.

I wasn't cold at all. Not a whit. At first I thought I would be, and that got me off to a slow start where I missed lots of waves. But then I realized I was going to be OK, and relaxed, and the last other surfer left so I was all alone, and then the sun came out. If anything maybe the cold made me focus. You really hate missing waves more when it's 19 degrees. Fortunately there were lots of waves to paddle for and that kept me warm. I started nailing them. It wasn't so hard. I really like being alone with my thoughts, or non-thoughts, in the water, which today were along the lines of, "My publisher has arranged for me to give a lecture at Johns Hopkins, now that's hard, compared to that surfing is a piece of cake!"

That seemed to work well. I was getting up nicely and once I was up was able to work on adjusting my posture and balance to stay with the wave until the end. I ended up getting lots of long rides and had one of the better surfing days of my life.

In the end I had to go in more because I was getting hungry than because I was cold. Cold, schmold.