It’s not, really, that the waves were all that dangerous or scary; it’s just that they were breaking too close to the beach.
Beach break. Shore break.
I can’t say I’m not spoiled by reef and point breaks, waves that seem a bit more, um, polite, reasonable, more consistent. On the Olympic Peninsula, the prevailing condition being flat or flat with winds blowing so frequently (and often briskly, gales from south to east to north to west, sometimes in one day) against any swell direction that might bring some sign of swell to the Strait, and even with buoy readings that suggest, almost guarantee rideable waves, the prevailing condition can win.
What is worse, figuring I’d figured it correctly, that I just might score, seeing even the super weak wavelets coming out of the dark and (despite the forecast) wind-torn deeper water, die among (as opposed to lined-up bombs sliding over) the rocks of a reef; a dark squall bringing a downpour; I discovered I might have been almost the only one dumb enough to believe the odds and the gods favored surf.
WAITING. Maybe it’s the tide; maybe it’s just…. a 47 (or so) minute nap, the downpour now the heaviest sort of drizzle, the windows now as fogged inside as they are wet outside; wet; that kind of wetness where they’re just covered in vertical rows of tiny drops, hanging there; one drop in each row gaining enough weight to fall down onto the next; but, and I would have awakened, no one else has even pulled in to see if there are waves.
So then one, meaning me, feels dumb for even trying.
BRIEF INTERMISSION- Here’s the negative, black light ready, version of the Soul Rebel illustration:
OKAY. There might be some options. This is how I ended up hiking to a spot that offered three foot plus waves, still not clean, not friendly, ribs in the swell caused by sidewinds; breaking along (more like on) a steep beach where, eight feet from shore, the water’s eight feet deep. Overhead.
SO, yeah; look for a corner, take off, drive hard, pull out before it all crashes. There’s no channel to ease into. There are sections, sort of separated by those sideways ribs. A bigger wave should break farther off the shelf that is the shore. Two successful-if-short rides are followed by one on which I went a rib too far. Oops.
Stuck in the Suck, I was down in the trench, my board skittering up the beach with each wave, each wave rag-dolling me as I attempted to crawl up and onto the shelf.
OKAY, now I’m determined. Drop, turn, burn, pullout. Repeat. Not super thrilling. BUT THEN, again, going for another section, an extra little chunk of water… Suck, stuck, rag-doll, crawl, try again. After somewhere around fifteen waves, having ridden one three ribs and a ways down the beach, I got out without suffering a third knockdown. Enough.
FUN. So, here’s my takeaway, based, largely on something I learned in Psychology 101, Palomar Junior College, 1969: All passion (read froth or stoke or lust or hunger) seeks to eliminate itself; to diminish that desire that so often overrides logic and morals and common sense. This lust/froth/stoke/hunger, extended by the ‘one more wave’ syndrome, can be more quickly diminished in sketchy, ‘one section too far’ conditions.
THEN, as passion does, passion returns. NEXT TIME…