Friday, August 19, 2005

Surprise oceanic gift of waves

Beep...beep...beep...beep says my Freestyle watch until I hit a button and it stops. I just lay there as the last vestages of my dream memories evaporate from the light of my consciousness. Several minutes go by, brush teeth, down steps and there's Roberto typing into the Ibook. He looks up "Good morning Michael."

"Good morning Roberto."

I remember that I have to put the center fin on Ro's 9'6 white and blue stick. The waves have been flat but Bri and I agreed to meet in the water at Turtle Bay at 7 AM. At this point it looks like I'll be a tad late. No need to wax the board, that'll save some time.

Driving in the green explorer with the board sticking out of the back window. The only radio station is playing some technoish reggae as the early moring traffic lines up like train cars. Pull into Turtle bay and park, no sign of Bri, he must already be in the water.

I walk the more that a quater mile to the ocean, switching the board from arm to arm (my arms are too short or the board is too wide - take your pick) and then settling on carrying it on my head. I arrive at the edge of the blue water and it feels warm on my feet. Scan the bay, no sign of Bri, not at the point, not in the middle and not on the left side of the bay. I watch the spot in the middle where the waves are breaking. I paddle out easily to this spot that is less than a hundred yards away. I wonder where Bri is, he must have bailed thinking there was know waves.

I get to the ever changing wave riding launch area, see my ride appear, start to jack up and then spot Bri just inside, smile on his face "Yo Mike!" He sees that I am gunning for this little pop up bump of a wave and says: "Go!"

Paddle couple times and then pop up on to my feet like Bruce Lee and I have already caught a cool little ride on a day that I thought there'd be no waves. Bri catches one, I catch another, Bri catches one... this goes on for 15-20 minutes before a lull spurs Bri to ask "Do you feel like paddling over to the point?'


"I need to get some paddling in today."

We paddle across the bay, both of us on longboards, side by side only a few feet apart. I can see the reef only 2 feet below us in places, it is low tide. As we arrive at the point, I see that there are rideable waves coming thru. The everchanging launch spot is about 15 feet from the exposed reef on the side. Quickly, I manage to catch one of the little bumps as it jacks up into something I can ride; takes me about 60-70 yards in. When I come off this wave, my foot catches the reef below. Low tide, remember? I quiz myself. Paddle back to launch area. Bri sits on his board waiting for his and soon he's on it. We keep up this pattern for 30 minutes or so. Tag team surfing these gentle waves. At one point, I try to lay down on the board after just finishing a ride, I slip and slam my chin on the board. I can feel it in my forehead, ouch! A couple Turtle Bay guests watch us, then they leave, some more arrive, watch, leave. A lull arrives and Bri presents this surf sesh's 3rd phase: "Do you want to paddle out to Peal Box?"

"Sure, lets go."

"How you feeling?"

"Fine, three days no surfing has giving my muscles a nice rest."

Now we are paddling across the bay. For most of it, we paddle side by side, towards the end, I fade back, resting my neck and traps. Eventually we make it to the thrid chapter of this Friday's surf session. Warning: shallow water in places, warning: reef is only 2 feet down in places. I watch Bri easily catch one of these waves as it jacks up and sends him a 100 yards away - faster then Greene, Powell or Gatling. The first one I catch, fizzles, I slip off and BANG! I land on the reef. Lower left back has lost some skin. Before I can rail, yell, bitch, I think: just be happy your out here catching waves - no one but you and your bro. Meanwhile the set comes in and gently pounds me with white foamy jabs. I loop around, catch one. Paddle back out. I watch Bri watch for waves, he signals me over. We paddle outside and wait for the ocassional 2-3 footer that is rolling in randomly. Finally, I catch one of these rogue waves and it takes me 150 Yards in about 6 seconds. Bri joins me 10 minutes later and we paddle in together savoring the surprise oceanic gift of waves on this muggy summer day on the North Shore. Towards the shore, we start to see rocks, weave around them and we land on sand. The time is 10:30 AM, three hour surf session complete.