OKAY, If I choose to write about surfing, surf culture, real surfers along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I can, because it’s America (one day from Memorial Day, and the official start to outdoor grilling season), I can say pretty much whatever I want. Freedom. YEAH, well; then there’s popular sentiment and, I must admit, some self-centered reasons for not writing EVERYTHING.
HERE’S what I can’t write about: CAN’T name spots, even those pretty much everyone who has ever surfed the Strait knows; CAN’T publish photos of any waves over one foot (should these photos even exist); CAN’T divulge tide/wind/swell direction formulas (mine or any one else’s) for determining best chances to avoid getting skunked (even if not getting skunked means, merely, getting some of those previously-mentioned one footers); CAN’T besmirch or demean any local surfers by name or, even, by giving away clues as to the identity of said locals (and I’m not defining or arguing your definition of locals here).
In the non-writing category, the main no-no is calling up your buddy from some spot with one footers sloppily lapping on rocky shores (and, hopefully, you’re being charged Canadian roaming fees, with tariffs), with a ‘Hey, Hipster-Bud, High-Bank is just f’ing firing. Calf-high sets. No, really. How long it might take you to get here from Gold Bar? No, I don’t know about the ferry backup or if the Hood Canal Bridge is closed, or if 101 is closed due to an accident, or if downed trees are blocking 112. Sheet, man; I’m just trying to get you some waves.”
It is kind of okay to tell surf stories and reveal surf secrets to people who have no real interest in ever challenging you for a set wave; and it’s kind of okay to brag about your latest surf exploits to a few friends, AFTER THE FACT.
Most of these ‘can’ts’ are, admittedly, self-serving. Surfing is just sooooo cool. I don’t mind (or fear) saying that. I don’t want MORE SURFERS in the water; some of them, undoubtedly, ready to get pissed-off because someone might be getting more tiny tubes than they are. Or many more.
ANOTHER ARGUMENT for not sharing is that it takes away from the joy one will feel when discovering these things for him or herself. YEP, there’s nothing like the thrill of hiking through the woods, down a slippery trail, only to find… nothing. NEXT TIME.
ANYWAY, I will reveal two of my secrets: If Keith goes camping or Adam makes a stealth run; there will be something. A problem there is, they might not (probably won’t) let me know until it’s over, or, at best, when that small window is closing.
SO, one (non-specific) day last week, checking the buoy readings and tea leaves frequently; I decided to go (mostly because my painting project get shut down due to the client not happy with the color she chose). I talked my friend, Stephen Davis, into going with me, promising waves based on the hope that the angle would improve, and that Keith was out there somewhere, no doubt, scoring AND, SURE ENOUGH, it was big enough to ride if one didn’t worry about losing another fin.
SIDEBAR: Tyler Meeks had a bunch of fins for sale at the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, sold them all. ADVICE: If you go, bring extras.
Okay, if you recognize the spot, one, don’t tell anyone; and, if you do, be sure to say this is a big day.
BUT, since I’m not the only one willing to be fooled by buoy reading that should mean waves, there’s always the enjoyment of hanging out.
I keep forgetting to take photos of real surfers, but here’s Tugboat Bill, ready to rip.
This is Gavin, originally from South Africa (once sat next to Jordy Smith at a restaurant at Jeffry’s Bay), an electrician and Whistler ski instructor; cooking lamb (smells good, not willing to taste it- did once) after his wife, Char, invited Steve and I to tour his Sprinter van. Though Steve is planning on going to Baja soon, Gavin is “through with Baja.”
So, yeah; one learns a lot while hanging around and waiting. NOT PICTURED is this other guy who was sitting on a five gallon bucket when we got there, quite willing to talk about how, possibly because he disrespected some Hawaiians, he suffered… (I don’t want to get into it, and, because he kept talking about it, I decided to risk my last unbroken fin).
AND, I MUST ADD, others pulled into the parking area, drawn by the hope and the anticipation. DARREN was lured into the water, possibly, noting that SEAN, teacher from P.A., and I were rock-skimming.
STEPHEN took a nap.
SO, THREE DAYS LATER, Adam having made at least one stealth strike, Keith extending his camping trip, Steve and I risked skunking again. And, now, finally something I can’t write about. I have at least one photo, though I should have taken more that I can’t publish; more of real surfers.
Here’s my daughter, Drucilla’s, new van and the woman she bought it from. Le (pronounced Lee, but, she told me, ‘with just one e’), originally from Vietnam, but of Chinese ancestry, and… things you learn in parking lots. This one is outside the Quilcene Post Office, down on Surf Route 101. The second photo is of the Deli section in the Poulsbo WalMart, taken because, there, partially because Dru only has a learner’s permit, and I was the duty instructor; but, mostly, because, Trish (at home on the phone) didn’t believe that there was no longer a place where one could get non-pre-packaged macaroni salad.
YEAH, not a surf story. Not that I don’t have some. SO, to all folks in the many many vehicles with multiple surfboards on them, with hopes and anticipation of overhead bombs; GOOD LUCK; hope you have some great stories you can’t tell.
Except, maybe, in some distant, out of cell range parking area.