This photo was taken by Adam “Wipeout” James on the Sunday after I surfed with this guy on a late Saturday afternoon. Maybe it was the next Sunday; I lose track. Even if it wasn’t, the surfer (we’ll call him Clint) seems to be trolling the Straits of Juan de Fuca looking for surf. And, sometimes, finding it.
I was a little surprised when he told me, on whatever Saturday evening it was, that he was camping out, hoping for more waves the next morning. “It’s a long night,” I told him. I’d rather drive back home and return in the morning. Not that I did. the short wave window had, in my estimation, already passed. Now, maybe Monday; Monday had been the day I’d been looking at for a while. Better tides, maybe better swell angle; but I had already committed to working “across the water,” as we say, in Seattle. No, I wasn’t staying overnight there either. I can sleep on a ferry, just not so well in a lot close to a road, where other surf surfarians pull in and, I’ve heard, sometimes party down.
THE STORY ON CLINT, who had already surfed some “a little windy, but not crowded” waves at another spot on the Saturday when I ran into him, is he did some surfing on Sunday, with Adam also involved in the action, then checked out this secret spot closer to his home. Meanwhile, Adam surfed another, even more secret spot with Keith. Now, Adam’s excuse/explanation for not surfing up to his full potential and ability at that super secret spot, is that he went to a restaurant in between, you know, like social surfers do, and ate more teriyaki than he should have. But, he told me (this would be on Monday) that he’d surfed well on Sunday in the first, pre-teriyaki/hangin’-with-the-bros session, which also included Nate, who built and sold Adam at least one Bob Simmons-style twin fin, and some other guy who Adam didn’t fully identify, and whose name I’ve forgotten (or didn’t bother to try to remember). Those two guys remained on the shore as Adam and Keith surfed, the waves fading fast, but Nate offered to sell Keith a Robert August “Wingnut” surfboard, a leash, and a board bag, for a really good price.
Not that it’s really pertinent, but Keith called me (in Seattle, working, after getting lost) to ask if I thought the potential purchase was a good deal. “You know, I once surfed in a heat against Wingnut…” “Erwin, I have to talk now.” “Yeah, okay, um, yeah; I’m sure it’s…” “Gotta go.”
Okay, so, in the process of delivering the board and stuff to Keith on Monday, Nate, with or without his friend, but without Adam, decided to head out farther on the Straits. They didn’t find rideable waves, but saw Clint’s Camper, but no Clint. So, they decided to go the actual coast. It was big, a little out of control, and the surfers out were having troubles. So, Nate and his friend stayed on the beach where they witnessed Clint (who, his rig broken down, maybe, had hitched a ride farther out) go over the falls at least once; maybe twice.
So, Nate relayed this message to Adam, because Adam just has to know these things, and he called me the next day (I was still, or, really, again, in Seattle), wouldn’t let me talk over him until he told me that he had talked to Clint, asked him how the session on the coast had gone, and, and Adam says this really speaks to Clint’s authenticity (because Clint didn’t know he was being observed. See? Yes, Adam, I get it), Clint said, “Actually, kind of shitty.”
If it had been me, I would have said, “You know, great.”
Then again, even going over the falls beats camping on a long ass northwest winter night.