The Unexpected Score

New High Score: How my expectations got blown out of the water and my stoke reached an all-time high.

I planned to just catch a few. 3.5hrs later I was completely gassed and stoked out of my mind. Here’s how it happened:

Looking at the forecast last night, I knew the swell was backing off and today would be slow. Since the next two days would be even smaller, I figured I should get out for at least a quick session just to get wet and keep myself in surf shape. There was a big swell coming in later in the week and I didn’t want to find myself rusty when the real surf arrived.

This morning nothing had changed. As expected, the swell had dropped. Cams were showing some swell still in the water, but it was clear that it wasn’t going to be the same as yesterday (which was mid-sized and really fun).

So I decided to take my time before leaving the house. I typically like to get out at first light to beat the crowd and enjoy the sunrise from the water’s level. But today’s mission wasn’t to beat the crowds or watch the sunrise. It was to catch a few waves and stay in tune for the upcoming swell.

That’s not quite what happened…

I checked my first go-to spot (which is where the cat incident happened). No one was out, but for good reason; it was quite small. I considered taking out my fish and waiting for the sets, which looked rideable, but then thought “let’s check up the coast a bit”.

Just a few miles north the coastline is more exposed allowing it to catch more swell. The waves can be a few feet bigger just around the corner. Today it was easily 3x. Must be the swell direction?

From my vantage point on the side of the road I could see only two guys in the water. The waves looked a little soft, but the tide was still dropping for the next hour and the sets were lining up nicely. The choice waves of each set looked like they were 7-10 turn waves. Giddy up!

At this point I had to re-adjust my mindset a bit. I started going through the checklist.

  • I don’t have any meetings this morning right?
  • So I should be able to surf for a little longer than I intended right?
  • I brought my shortboard right?

All YES down the line!

The next moment I was in the lineup with a few other guys who shared looks of amazement. Clearly none of them had expected such gems to be rolling in this morning but all of us were grateful to be there.

I got lucky on my first take and nabbed a set wave that lined up all the way to the inside. It was the type of wave that had just enough force to get a nice big bottom turn in but gave me plenty of time to make a nice cutback and line up for the next section.

I love waves that give you the power to get a rush off the takeoff and plenty of pushback off the top turn, but also break at a pace that allow you to be patient. No rushing down the line to make the next section. No clamping lip to scramble around. Just the linking-together of clean turns, all the way from the top of the wave to the bottom and back up again! And today closeout sections were rare.

By the 10th top turn I was literally laughing out loud and talking to my self, “oh my god”. (A few hours later I heard another surfer mutter the same words while he was on a wave, which really tickled me tinder. )

I pulled out of the wave and let myself fall off my board like a jumping fish falls back into the liquid where it belongs. I was 10 minutes into the session and  already fully stoked. The pressure was off. No need to worry if the effort of my search would pay off. The effort of my entire trip out here had paid itself off in one wave. 

The fact that there was no hype to live up to, no expectations about the number or quality of waves I would get, made it that much better. What a wonderful surprise.

I went on to catch many more waves. A few even topped that first one.

Now I’m stoked, sapped, and shuffling around the house in pure wonder; how can surfing bring such unexpected pleasure? 


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