When we were living near the coast Jack used to go boogie boarding with a group of guys every Friday morning in Half Moon Bay. Some surfed long-board, but most went boogie boarding.
Since moving away from the coast he tries to make it back out there for a Friday morning surf with the fellas whenever he gets a chance.
This past Friday he persuaded me to get up at 5am (boo!) and drive out there with him. While he surfed I ran the beach with the dog.
For those who wonder “Why in the world do these guys get up at the crack of dawn to hurl themselves into churning COLD water?” well, here ya go.
When you first show up there is a line of cars with their trunks popped open. Surfers are changing their clothes and pulling on wetsuits. At 6:30/7am you can expect to see a healthy line-up.
Here’s Jack pulling on his wetsuit booties. You’ll see he also has on a hood, too. He has an aversion to cold water and will cover every part of his body to get away from it. I’m sure if he could wrap every inch of his skin he would.
He’s grimacing in anticipation of that first slam of super cold water. Getting into the water and over the first break of waves is the toughest part. That first slam of frigid water can also roll you back onto shore pretty quick. But once you’re out it’s glorious.
For those wondering, “But this is California, what’s up the wetsuits?”
This is Northern California surfing, folks. It’s COLD. And up here in Half Moon Bay, home of the world-famous Mavericks surf competition, it’s generally a bit cast over and grey. In fact most of the summer is cloaked in fog. The best surfing happens in the winter. Go figure, huh?
The sunny blue skies and bikini clad surfers a la Gidget is Southern California surfing.
Anyhow, back to wetsuits …
Here we go. Cold water. Comin’ at ya. Lookin’ forward to it. Uh huh.
And I’m not going to say anything about how delicious Jack looks from behind since his mom reads this blog, but I’ll just sit here for a moment and admire the view. You can go on ahead; I’ll wait here for a moment.
Anyway, when they get to the water they stand about a bit observing the waves and their breaks, looking for the best place to attempt busting through, under or over.
There’s always some schmoe who will race out first and everyone watches to see if he’s successful.
And then they take off like little chicks, all finding their own paths into the water.
Ooops, here comes another surfer. He was parked in the car next to us. He played with Lily and didn’t mind that she wanted to jump into the back of his truck and go home with him.
I liked this guy. He gave the dog back.
Like Jack you can see that he’s covered from head to toe with hood and booties.
And, oh my, he sees the surf and he’s anxious to get out there.
But unlike Jack this fella actually takes some time to stretch.
It’s pretty smart if you ask me. The waves can really give you a bit of a pounding.
Ah, look, here comes Carston. Carston’s from Germany. To put it mildly, he’s passionate and obsessed with surfing. He vacations in California every year for a month and he’ll surf every day, often twice a day. He prefers to surf long board. And notice, he’s got bare feet and bare head. Carston—with his passion for surfing—is pretty wonderful.
I’m sorry to say that he didn’t catch a good wave this morning. But he wasn’t deterred, he was going to visit another a beach later on that day and try again. Not much deters Carston from surfing.
Whoop, there goes another surfer … running, not walking, towards the water.
It’s fun to see them all run towards the water. Why don’t they walk? What’s up with the running?
Speaking of running, I needed to get going on my own run with the dog.
An hour later I was invited to join Jack and his cronies for their ritual post-surf coffee klatsch at the local cafe. Surfing recaps ensued: who got tumbled, who made it out, who got great waves and an ultimate ride in. I got a chance to catch up with Carston since seeing him last year. Lots of laughing. There’s something about surfing—taking on Mother Nature—that celebrates just being alive. Even though I didn’t surf that day (I am a former surfer), it was nice to be invited along and the mood was infectious.
What a lovely way to start a Friday.