Between the Skunk and the Squall

I thought I had a few minutes to write something. I do. A few minutes. I have five semi-scheduled appointments I didn’t schedule late enough to cover my writing addiction. There were a couple of subjects I’ve been thinking about. One of them is not “Blowing up the spot” by posting photos of not-secret-surf-spots on the Gram, along with commentary on just how perfect your life is. Good for you.

Another topic is inviting all your out-of-town friends for a longshot chance at something breaking on the always fickle Strait. Whether you or your friends get waves is, even if the forecasters forecast waves, largely a matter of timing. The window in which any particular spot might have rideable waves is almost always quite small.

Here is very recent example: A local surfer was taking the path back after surfing. He runs into a dude heading toward the water. “Is it HAPPENIN’?!!” Pretty much on repeat. “Um… I don’t know you. I…” “Oh, I’m a friend of so-and-so’s. Came up from Portland.” “Oh, so-and-so.” Whether the surf was happenin’ or not is incidental. It just so happened that the local surfer knew so-and-so, kind of. Nevertheless, the response could have been, and probably was a nicer version of, “Get fucked and go back to fucking Portland!”

Sounds harsh. It’s a variation on the classic 60s Malibu line, “Get fucked and go back to the valley.”

I selected this photo while googling “Surfers in parking lots.” First one up. (Surfers changing into their wetsuits in the parking lot of Chesterman’s Beach. (Photo by Christopher Morris/Corbis via Getty Images). I had to use it. The car is a much nicer version of my surf rig. So, then I had to google Chesterman’s Beach. Tofino. Three surfers ready to rip. It is obviously happenin!. Now, I am not trying to blow up a spot I have never been to, but, wherever these obvious rippers came from, I am sure they were welcomed in the lineup.

I am not trying to relitigate or even discuss local/non-local stuff. Pick a spot, move in as close as you can get, never go anywhere else. Anyway, on my most recent surf adventure, not feeling too guilty because I have a job very close to several potential surf locations, I sort of disregarded my years of accumulated historical, anecdotal data on what tide and angle and wind direction and all might work and went. It wasn’t working when I arrived. Typical. Almost happening. There were two other vehicles in the parking area. One was a guy who came over from the Methow Valley, Eastern Washington. He had lived for a while in Port Townsend, worked for a guy I have painted for, not that any of this makes up for him driving, like, forever, to get to this spot. He was actually ready and waiting for Hobuck to open up. Evidently (blowing up the spot here) Hobuck may have.

The other guy, who never came out of his rig, was from Wenatchee. Also East of the mountains. I didn’t take the time to discuss his surf history.

The next rig that arrived had a guy from Westport and a guy from Gig Harbor. The Gig Harbor guy knew some surfers I also know, had a few stories I hadn’t heard about several of our mutual acquaintances.

How do I know this stuff? I ask.

Not almost enough for those two, they headed elsewhere, continuing their search. I went out. I got lucky. Pretty decent before the wind came up and the swell dropped off. I surfed, went to my job as other surfers went out, others arrived, checking it out. As I was leaving, another guy cruised in. He knew some surfers I know.

The next day, one of my friends told me the spot I surfed got good later in the afternoon. “And who did you hear that from?” He heard it from the guy (he told me his name, I just forgot it) who, obviously, stuck around through the tide and the squalls and the drop in swell. So, kind of the fir cone wireless, the little social networks we all seem to develop. Still, better than, “Yeah, he posted it on Instagram.” “Hope he didn’t call it the ‘Best ever!’ It wasn’t.”

I have learned not to name spots on my little site; even those that are not secret. It is not so much the spot as the window, and besides, do we need more surfers in the lineup?

Time’s up. I have to go; don’t even have time to check to see if I know anyone up Tofino way. FIR CONE WIRELESS, kind of happy with that little variation, in case it’s remote, on the COCONUT WIRELESS.

No offense to Portland.

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