Dawn Patrol from Home and the FROTH Factor

Everyone who surfs seems to get the same forecasts, the same weather reports, and buoy readings, tide charts; it’s all in how much faith we put in the forecast, even faith in the buoys; and how we analyze the data. Ebb, flow, go or not go; load up the car, head out in the dark.

cam-lapush-wa-1Looks good; I think I see a line…wait, on the outside…looks glassy. Hmm.

OH, and we have to factor work into the eventual equation: WORK, the reason I’ve missed so many days others reported as epic, including, most recently, last Wednesday, a day I’d predicted as worth trying. Even more frustrating, I can easily, still ten miles from the spot I hope is breaking, remember working on the bluff above Stone Steps, painting someone’s house… OH, and the house down by (original, real) Grandview; while others, others, fortunate others, were enjoying glassy peaks.  OH, and the ultimate, working on Camp Pendleton, painting on base housing, with a perfect view of Lower Trestles, hoping it wouldn’t be blown out by lunchtime, hoping for an after work.

AND, it must be said, that looking at perfect, or even good waves once you’ve been out, and you’re tired, and you’re satisfied, and you’re warm (and your wetsuit is hanging or thrown into a bin) is way different than arriving to mediocre waves and a big crowd (as in, Last Saturday). “So, here comes a set, five people scratching for it… where’s my thermos?”

SO, we can talk about the FROTH level, exacerbated by third hand reports of favorable conditions at a spot I by-passed on Saturday (Was I, as accused, ‘too good’ for that spot? I had hoped to be, and was skunked at a spot I just knew would be working), and the generally hyper-competitive nature (so my wife says) between me and my small circle of surfing friends. Wanting to score, to brag, to, (even) gloat; factor these into the Froth Formula. And factor in one friend saying I was, perhaps, rather than not being so rude as to paddle out in a crowd of surfers of various skill levels, I was, and I should consider this, getting soft.

NO, I’ve always been competitive; and really, it’s mostly with myself, a desire to be better, better; as good as the conditions and my ability will allow.

FROTHING. WAVE LUST. So, yesterday, after a few skunkings, a near-(and should really be classified as a skunking, but I won’t)skunking, and some sessions riding barely-catch-able waves, I was FOAMING.  When I arrived, an hour after dawn (mostly because of indecision about the buoys), there were already six people out, the tide was already high and getting higher, and I was… here’s a froth-mediating thing: If the waves were epic, insanity; they weren’t, but there were waves, and the waves wouldn’t last through the tide; the swell could move a degree or two and it could all vanish… I paddled out.

Does that look... um, kinda...hmm

Does that look… um, kinda…hmm

Here came a wave; I turned and paddled for it alongside a guy with a beard and a very long longboard with a Gopro on the front of it. I backed-out, he missed the wave. “Oh, I thought you would’ve caught it,” I said, politely. No response. I jockeyed around a bit, then pointed to the Gopro. “How do you turn that thing on?” “By not taking off on my wave,” he said in a voice loud enough for me to hear despite wearing earplugs and a hood. “Oh, okay.”

Okay, froth mediation. “Be polite. Relax. Share,” I told myself, quickly followed by asking myself, “If I’m farther over, it wouldn’t be his wave?”  I caught a couple of inside waves, carefully avoiding the GoProHipster, and did notice he did the paddle-in-not-on-a-wave (sometimes called the ‘paddle of shame’), then hung out on the beach for quite a while. I kept surfing.

All lust, I remember from Psychology 101, seeks to end itself. Hungry? Eat. I’m okay, for a while, but, pre-dawn, still checking the buoys, the forecasts, doing a little writing before I go to, yeah, WORK. I don’t, incidentally, have Work Lust, at least not that requires counseling.

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