Mellowness and the Acceptance Thereof

It’s not that I don’t believe a mellow surf session is not something worthy of, um, consideration, it is just that my image of surfing has a tough time slipping seamlessly into even the idea (or is concept a better word choice?) that waves are gentle bundles of energy one can just float on, flow across, arms out, graceful, dancing from one subtle pose to another. And if one is sharing a wave? Beautiful.

And yet, despite my belief that every wave is critical, as capable of drowning as crowning another Prince or Princess, I have, occasionally, experienced… mellowness.


I think the last time was 1966, Tamarack. Somehow, and how is lost in the years, I was there, after school, sharing the water on a glassy (it’s the glassiness I remember almost most) afternoon, the tide and the wave size pushing each wave into a single takeoff/ride zone; with fifteen or so floaters and bobbers and riders and, yeah, me, barely-fifteen-years-old, kind of hoping there would be a wave I could catch. And ride. Alone.

And I stayed out until the sun, hanging in the dirty orange sky…

Yeah. Shit; I don’t actually remember if I got a wave; I was just happy to be there. I was happier the next day when a substitute teacher at Fallbrook High went on, in the most lyrical language, about how beautiful the sunset was at Tamarack the previous evening, with surfers floating and bobbing and… “I was out there. Tamarack. In the water.”

“Oh,” she said, sizing me up, “great.”

Great. Mellow. I cannot, with certainty, tell you if I got more than one ride. Oh, at least one.

So, there I was, recently, after spraying out a house and a shed, my work van squeezed into a spot on the water side of the pullout (and only because I talked a guy into moving his big-ass truck), looking at foggy/glassy high tide conditions, thirteen floaters and bobbers and rippers in the water, crowded, because of the wave size and the conditions, into another narrow takeoff/ride area.

I waited. I counted. 14. 13. 16. One of the guys two rigs over said, “I see you’re counting. What’s the number you’re looking for?” “Two, maybe; three.” “That’ll never happen.” “Oh, okay.”

“Wow, look at the view. Here I am, dreaming of a fully-built-out Sprinter, nicer equipment, better food preparation options. Ahhhh!”

Just for clarification, not me in the above photo. I gave up easily after searching “modern hipster camper rigs.” The ones the dude in this photo might want is… ewww, so fancy. VW camper vans and Subaru station wagons… make way. But, yeah; I do kind of, occasionally, consider how my big-ass painter van, if I ever could retire, maybe one of my friends who actually builds out vans, Reggie or Aaron, could… Yeah, I’m dreaming. A cooler and a seat that reclines; that will get me by.

APREZ-SURF- So, it was dark, foggy, still thirteen in the water, and I’m sitting on this log, peeling out of my booties. This kid I saw in the water is changing-out, using his not-the-fanciest version of the stripping-out robe thing behind the camper parked next to me (one of at least two, maybe three people who arrived in this rig). I asked him how his session went. “Fun. It’s always fun. Isn’t it.”

I cannot say if I saw the kid catch many waves. “Yeah, it is,” I said. Mellow.

TOMORROW, TRESTLES- I was kind of hoping the WSL finals would go today so I could watch some of it while waiting for, and watching the SEAHAWKS. No. When it does go, Stephanie or Conner will have to surf five heats to win it all; Carissa and Gabriel only have to win one. I’m not sure why I root for a seven-time world champion and a (as far as I can determine) rich kid from Oprah’s neighborhood. If Kelly was rated number five, I would root for him.

To be clear, I have nothing against any of the contenders. I have watched enough of the WSL to feel as if I know something about them. I would be pretty thrilled Sally Fitzgibbons, so often runner up, actually won. There are a lot of scenarios. I will definitely hang around to watch the first two heats and check it out during my work day.

I’m hoping for something other than mellow.

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