Somewhere, probably six or seven years ago, still rather early in my surf comeback, still trying to get to a reasonable level of ability and style (and I’m still working on that), I encountered Trina Packard on the inside at my most-frequented spot on the Straits. It was an above-average day (the real, every-day-counted average probably somewhere close to flat), with quite a few rigs in the parking area, and it was a session in which I noted, and, no doubt wrote to my old surf buddy, Ray Hicks, I caught eight waves before I ever actually made it to the outside lineup.
I was pretty proud I had improved enough to go to my old approach; taking a few on the head, dodging a few surfers on waves, dropping into a few.
Paddling along the rim of the lefts, both Trina and I were picking off waves surfers couldn’t quite catch, or couldn’t make the section. “If no one else wants this one,” Trina said, possibly a veiled message of ‘back off, old guy’ inherit in the phrasing (and the determined ‘going-for-it’ look), “I’ll take it.” And, of course, she did. Several times.
A year or so later, in the same parking lot, Tim Nolan (still older than i am) and I discussing why the waves could have been here, should have been here, but weren’t, after I’d recited Trina’s quote back to her and Tim, and, because we must all apologize, sort of, for sessions in which we’re a bit more aggressive than average, Trina explained that she’d just returned from Australia and was pumped up. At this time she had been working in graphics and web design in the Port Angeles area, but said she might have to move to the Seattle area (area).
“Oh, too bad,” Tim and I, no doubt said, thinking of all the surfers we run into, most of whom disappear to somewhere, possibly even worse than the big city across the Sound. “I’ll still be surfing,” she said. “Of course,” we said.
I ran into Trina two different times at the Surfrider Cleanwater Surf Contest in Westport (with a year in between in which I didn’t volunteer to ‘help’ and assist the judges- great fun for me). This is really like me running to the bathroom, her ready to go into a heat. “Good luck,” or “How’d you do?”
So, it wasn’t really too surprising, a few weeks ago, on a day when the coast was out of control and the Straits over-crowded; while I, already surfed-out, was taking the ever-longer walk out to check out what the dam removal had done to the surfing spot at the Elwha River, I passed Trina and a friend headed back to the parking lot. She has moved to Westport, she said. She did well at this year’s Cleanwater (second, as I recall, in Women’s Longboard). There had, evidently, been some discussion that some volunteers had hogged the judging assistant spots, and I missed this year’s contest. Maybe next year.
So (again with the ‘so’), here’s why I care: I also have a background in art. I appreciate anyone who can be good enough, persistent enough, gutsy enough to make a living at it. It’s hard. Like another surfer-turned-actually-professional artist, Todd Fischer, who I first met when he was a plumbing contractor working on some of the same projects I was doing the painting on, Trina seems to have figured some way to make a living from art AND live close to the beach
And, again; good luck.