Celebrating the Wave

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Other than hydrosexual (in love with all sports water-in any form-related) Stephen Davis and me, there were only two other surfers out on this particular section of track. Track, I say, partially because Stephen described the inside section, after the late-takeoff-only drop, after the first bowling portion, as a ‘racetrack.’ Yeah, but this was a morning when the dark swells approached, lining up way up the point, and advanced toward us like high speed freight trains, heavy. spinning.

I’d love to make some comparison to cement mixers, though they’d have to be backing up, the barrels moving, counter-clockwise, one just to the right and behind another, picking up the chalky water flowing out of the Olympic Mountains, approaching, closer; and as each wave did, it would pick up that gray-green color characteristic of cold, cold water.

With the sky threatening, layers and splotches of muted greys, near-blues, and the surface glassy, reflecting those subtle tones, and another four wave set (one each) moving steadily toward the little point in a long sweep, one of the other two guys, looking up the long lines, gave the wave the universal gesture of celebration, of jubilation, of appreciation.

A bit farther down the track, I turned and paddled.

Surfing Power Couples

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As Stephen Davis and I were hiking back to my car yesterday, exhausted from the two-and-a-half hour workout, the occasional thrashing (mostly inside the tube) and the occasional thrilling down the line drop-swoop-glide ride (always very close to or in the tube) the waves at a certain unnamed Rivermouth/Pointbreak offered us; surveying the half mile of curved beach, waves peeling in long sections, we both zoomed in as a longboarder paddled for, caught, then dropped, backside, into a dirty-but-glassy-black section. Instantly in the powerful heart, she grabbed a rail, seemed to extend her lead foot toward the nose.

As with almost all of the waves anywhere along this sweep, with unseen sections peeling and reeling around a succession of named spots, there was no real exit. No channel, no deeper water. Hang on, pull in as tight as possible, take the roll. No where better to get rolled than inside.

So, to complete the reveal and the connection to the alleged topic, the surfer was Lynn, the better half* of the Port Angeles surfing power couple of Gordon and Lynn.

“I waited a long time for that wave,” Lynn said on the lawn outside ______’s house**.

Indeed; I first ran into Gordon and Lynn at the NearStraits*** backup/backup spot seven or eight years ago, Gordon was thrashing around on the freshly-purchased, striped (and, I would guess, expensive) Robert August surfboard that had been standing a while at the North by Northwest (NXNW) Surf Shop.  They were both just getting into surfing as I was trying to get back into some sort of surfing shape, trying to get back anywhere close to some acceptable (as in not humiliating or highly embarrassing) level of surfing ability.

And they have improved greatly. I have more to say on the subject of power couples, but I have to go. Later. Okay. Teaser: “No, it’s your turn to watch the kids.” “Five waves. Five; that’s all I ask.”

*though it’s only polite to call a woman the better half; I do think Lynn is… no, you’re each as good a surfer as the other. **This was a clue for those who don’t really need a clue, but, after a phone call from a concerned surfer who thinks this is a secret, the name has now been dedacted/removed/deleted.  Okay, so now those of you who did read the name, pre-dedaction, please keep it to yourselves; just to keep the crowds down in the water.***NearStraits as opposed to more secret/more mysterious spots closer to the ocean.

Trina Packard Takes (a few) Waves

Somewhere, probably six or seven years ago, still rather early in my surf comeback, still trying to get to a reasonable level of ability and style (and I’m still working on that), I encountered Trina Packard on the inside at my most-frequented spot on the Straits. It was an above-average day (the real, every-day-counted average probably somewhere close to flat), with quite a few rigs in the parking area, and it was a session in which I noted, and, no doubt wrote to my old surf buddy, Ray Hicks, I caught eight waves before I ever actually made it to the outside lineup.

I was pretty proud I had improved enough to go to my old approach; taking a few on the head, dodging a few surfers on waves, dropping into a few.

Paddling along the rim of the lefts, both Trina and I were picking off waves surfers couldn’t quite catch, or couldn’t make the section. “If no one else wants this one,” Trina said, possibly a veiled message of ‘back off, old guy’ inherit in the phrasing (and the determined ‘going-for-it’ look), “I’ll take it.” And, of course, she did. Several times.

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A year or so later, in the same parking lot, Tim Nolan (still older than i am) and I discussing why the waves could have been here, should have been here, but weren’t, after I’d recited Trina’s quote back to her and Tim, and, because we must all apologize, sort of, for sessions in which we’re a bit more aggressive than average, Trina explained that she’d just returned from Australia and was pumped up. At this time she had been working in graphics and web design in the Port Angeles area, but said she might have to move to the Seattle area (area).

“Oh, too bad,” Tim and I, no doubt said, thinking of all the surfers we run into, most of whom disappear to somewhere, possibly even worse than the big city across the Sound. “I’ll still be surfing,” she said. “Of course,” we said.

I ran into Trina two different times at the Surfrider Cleanwater Surf Contest in Westport (with a year in between in which I didn’t volunteer to ‘help’ and assist the judges- great fun for me). This is really like me running to the bathroom, her ready to go into a heat. “Good luck,” or “How’d you do?”

So, it wasn’t really too surprising, a few weeks ago, on a day when the coast was out of control and the Straits over-crowded; while I, already surfed-out, was taking the ever-longer walk out to check out what the dam removal had done to the surfing spot at the Elwha River, I passed Trina and a friend headed back to the parking lot. She has moved to Westport, she said. She did well at this year’s Cleanwater (second, as I recall, in Women’s Longboard). There had, evidently, been some discussion that some volunteers had hogged the judging assistant spots, and I missed this year’s contest. Maybe next year.

So (again with the ‘so’), here’s why I care: I also have a background in art. I appreciate anyone who can be good enough, persistent enough, gutsy enough to make a living at it. It’s hard. Like another surfer-turned-actually-professional artist, Todd Fischer, who I first met when he was a plumbing contractor working on some of the same projects I was doing the painting on, Trina seems to have figured some way to make a living from art AND live close to the beach

And, again; good luck.