I lied. I didn’t lie on purpose. I had an amazing photograph sent to me. The color was exquisite, the composition perfect; the kind of surf shot that will give a surfer a twinge, a tickle, an urge to enter that (I’m going to have to say) realm. It was taken by my good friend, the above-selfied hydrosexual, Stephen Davis, shown here on his boat.
I should have downloaded it when I got it. A week later, like the waves that sometimes grace the spot itself, the photo just went away. I can’t find it. You’ll have to take my word until I do, it was magical. Amazing enough to have to be seen, the photo still started arguments (discussions, really) between Stephen Davis, surf (and regular) librarian, Keith Darrock, and me. “Award winning,” my wife, Trish, said. It was that good; but, if I posted it and said where it was taken… well.
Crescent. Okay, we agreed to say it’s Crescent. And, it’ll always be Crescent. Even if it’s not Crescent, I’m going to say it’s Crescent. Even if it’s obviously not Crescent, I’m going to say it’s Crescent. Not that I have so much integrity; I don’t feel right naming some spot, anywhere on the range of top to no-where-near secret; if there’s a chance you and three rigs full of gung ho surf adventurers, wetsuits fresh from the rental shop or the drycleaners, your quivers of board-bagged short boards locked into position on your roof racks, positioned on top of the soft-tops; all of you showing up there just as I prepare to take whatever forest/cliff path to hit the pristine waves.
Besides, someone will call me out as a traitor if I name any spot other than places I really don’t care if you surf, like Westport (the part 100 yards from the jetty), Seaside (100 yards from the cove), or, um; that’s about it. Other than Crescent. Well, no, someone will get angry. “Hey, jerk; now it’ll get crowded with kooks and kayakers and SUPers and people who flunked out of surf school.” “Oh, like, now; because twenty people (in the whole world) looked at my site?”
So, any photo of any rarely-breaking, hard-to-get-to, or just down-right secret spot that someone is kind enough to show me, I’ll identify it as Crescent Beach. Even if, and especially if, it isn’t Crescent Beach.
So, even though I do, occasionally surf there, please, go there; any time, surf it, enjoy it. Share it with your friends.
There are some secret spots on the Straits of Juan de Fuca I’ve heard of but not seen, some that I’ve seen but not surfed, some that are so secret they never quite reach the rumor stage. Stephen Davis knows of many of these spots because, over many years, he has trekked down rivers, up beaches, searching.
“Hey, Steve;” I’ve often said, “the forecast (and we all check out the same forecasts; some of us know what to look for) seems to indicate we might get a pulse… howzabout we go to one of those secret spots?”
“Oh,” he’ll say. “I don’t know.” Maybe when I said ‘good’ friends, I was a little off; “maybe we should just go to Crescent.”
So, Crescent it is.
I will get that photo. You’ll love it. Just don’t try to find it. It’s…
This isn’t the photo I was talking about. It’s Christian Coxen walking back up from the beach at… Stephen says it’s Crescent. Crescent Beach, best known secret spot (find it online- you know how) on the Straits of Juan de Fuca (translates to ‘John got skunked.’) See you there.
“Daddy, is that what will happen to me if I go in the (pointing) ocean?”
“Well, yes; it could. I mean, no, no; that sea lion was probably old and… The ocean (pointing) is a dangerous place and…”
“Will a seagull (pointing at the carcass) bite my eyeballs out?”
“No. No. Probably not. Usually some… (fluttering his eyes) small fish will…”
“But… (points) you go in the ocean; and you don’t get eaten.”
“Well, yes; but that’s because… (points to himself) I…”
“Do you have… (puffs out his chest, strikes pose) super powers? I mean, when you put on your costume, and…”
“Super? Well; sometimes… (puffs chest, strikes several surfing poses) I get a super ride; a head dip or, um, three; but usually…”
“I want a blue and red costume when I get super powers. Okay? Oh, and, Daddy; you know… (walks closer) you’ve just given me Post Twamatic Stwess Disorder… for life, and, someday, when I’m older, with or without my superpowers; I will have to sue you. (long pause, looking into each others’ eyes) Oh, and about swimming in the pool, later; I won’t need the waterwings. I’ll just watch.”
“No, no; watching’s good. You know I’m supposed to be watching you. Right? Well, if Daddy catches a few waves…”
“Sure, Daddy; But remember it when you give… (removes a glove for effect) your deposition. (smiles somewhat menacingly) Later. Much later.”
Thanks to Adam James for the photo, one of several from a recent James Family trip to the Long Beach Peninsula area of Washington State.
Other than hydrosexual (in love with all sports water-in any form-related) Stephen Davis and me, there were only two other surfers out on this particular section of track. Track, I say, partially because Stephen described the inside section, after the late-takeoff-only drop, after the first bowling portion, as a ‘racetrack.’ Yeah, but this was a morning when the dark swells approached, lining up way up the point, and advanced toward us like high speed freight trains, heavy. spinning.
I’d love to make some comparison to cement mixers, though they’d have to be backing up, the barrels moving, counter-clockwise, one just to the right and behind another, picking up the chalky water flowing out of the Olympic Mountains, approaching, closer; and as each wave did, it would pick up that gray-green color characteristic of cold, cold water.
With the sky threatening, layers and splotches of muted greys, near-blues, and the surface glassy, reflecting those subtle tones, and another four wave set (one each) moving steadily toward the little point in a long sweep, one of the other two guys, looking up the long lines, gave the wave the universal gesture of celebration, of jubilation, of appreciation.
A bit farther down the track, I turned and paddled.
The word HODAD, back a ways in surf jargon, was used to identify people who had all the proper items necessary to look like surfers, you just never actually saw them surf. It should be mentioned that no surfer believes another person surfs if that person hasn’t been observed by that first person, surfing. And, even then, if the possible Hodad isn’t seen actually catching waves, the possible-poser might be merely relabeled as a KOOK. Even having multiple surfboards, wearing the proper semi-authorized surf garb, having appropriately cool stickers on your appropriate surf vehicle, and having a working knowledge of surf spots from Mainland Mexico to Alaska, and having the ability to drop names of surf legends/stars, and some local heroes, from Bob Simmons to Robert Kelly Slater, and having conversational/storytelling skills that would hold up in parking areas from Swamis to Velzyland, and… wait a minute; I’m sort of describing myself.
No, no; it can’t be.
I’m not nearly friendly enough to be a BRODAD. And besides, most of my beachside surf wear comes from Goodwill, my wetsuit is ragged, patched with cutouts from old wetsuits, my surf rig smells like mildew and, again, old wetsuits; my boards are dinged, yellowed, the wax dirty.
Oh, yeah; I know how to look like a REALSURFER, BRO. Except, BRAH (and I never really use either of these terms in real life), I do get in the water.
As Stephen Davis and I were hiking back to my car yesterday, exhausted from the two-and-a-half hour workout, the occasional thrashing (mostly inside the tube) and the occasional thrilling down the line drop-swoop-glide ride (always very close to or in the tube) the waves at a certain unnamed Rivermouth/Pointbreak offered us; surveying the half mile of curved beach, waves peeling in long sections, we both zoomed in as a longboarder paddled for, caught, then dropped, backside, into a dirty-but-glassy-black section. Instantly in the powerful heart, she grabbed a rail, seemed to extend her lead foot toward the nose.
As with almost all of the waves anywhere along this sweep, with unseen sections peeling and reeling around a succession of named spots, there was no real exit. No channel, no deeper water. Hang on, pull in as tight as possible, take the roll. No where better to get rolled than inside.
So, to complete the reveal and the connection to the alleged topic, the surfer was Lynn, the better half* of the Port Angeles surfing power couple of Gordon and Lynn.
“I waited a long time for that wave,” Lynn said on the lawn outside ______’s house**.
Indeed; I first ran into Gordon and Lynn at the NearStraits*** backup/backup spot seven or eight years ago, Gordon was thrashing around on the freshly-purchased, striped (and, I would guess, expensive) Robert August surfboard that had been standing a while at the North by Northwest (NXNW) Surf Shop. They were both just getting into surfing as I was trying to get back into some sort of surfing shape, trying to get back anywhere close to some acceptable (as in not humiliating or highly embarrassing) level of surfing ability.
And they have improved greatly. I have more to say on the subject of power couples, but I have to go. Later. Okay. Teaser: “No, it’s your turn to watch the kids.” “Five waves. Five; that’s all I ask.”
*though it’s only polite to call a woman the better half; I do think Lynn is… no, you’re each as good a surfer as the other. **This was a clue for those who don’t really need a clue, but, after a phone call from a concerned surfer who thinks this is a secret, the name has now been dedacted/removed/deleted. Okay, so now those of you who did read the name, pre-dedaction, please keep it to yourselves; just to keep the crowds down in the water.***NearStraits as opposed to more secret/more mysterious spots closer to the ocean.