Today, 8/28/14, the morning air is cool. The sun will chase it away soon, but it makes me feel like fall is creeping in, slowly swallowing the summer from the bottom up.
I drive the coast looking for waves. They're everywhere today, it's just about finding the spot for me. My car has been at the train station the last few days because of a bunch of boring details related to me and Scott getting to work on different days at different times. Before he dropped me off, Scott asked me where I thought I'd surf this morning, since I was out and about now at 6 a.m. with so many options. "Probably at home," I told him and it was true.
When I get to my parent's backyard Kevin is sitting with a towel around his shoulders waiting for Kelly. We talk and stretch and then she arrives, suiting up quickly and waxing her yellow board next to him. I linger and stretch and watch the waves some more. As I descend the stairs to the beach, I can't hear my footsteps over the sound of the waves.
There's a mist hovering about the bluff that makes me feel a little like I'm in a dream. The air, quickly becoming thicker, and the warm water combined with a large swell reminiscent of winter makes it seem that way too.
I paddle out right when a set pours in, but the current pushes me to the spot I'd like to be. There's another guy next to me. I recognize him, but I don't know his name. We both wait anxiously, nervously to see if we're in the right spot for the sets. He takes a few waves right away even though I'm closest to the peak. When I take one, I'm a little late and as the white wash hits me in the back, the nose of my board catches and I tumble over the front. Now I'm determined instead of nervous, which is a more familiar feeling.
I make the next drop and carve around on the wave's big face. Backside cutbacks feel like slicing butter with your feet. I hit the lip on a sucky section. I think I have it, but then my tail releases on the landing and the wave rips my left shoulder around as I grab it for support. I'm glad I hit my arm on the way down though, just to know that I did everything I could to make it.
I recognize the ocean again now. I'm tempted to say I recognize my ocean again, but I know it's not mine.
For what seems like most of my life at this point, surfing has been one of my main focuses. But I'm scared lately that I'm coming to the end of that. That in the next season of my life I will focus on family and kids, my kids maybe, and I'll be different.
My friend Stephanie just had a baby. But she had a dog first. She told me she was really worried that she wouldn't be able to give the dog the same attention after the baby was born. I don't have a dog or a baby, so I don't know how it would feel to try to love both, but I think I understand why she was worried. I think I'm worried I won't be able to love surfing the same when I'm loving so many other things so much.
But today, out here, I can feel that being a surfer isn't something that goes away. It's a part of who I am, and I know it's actually a bunch of work trying to be someone you're not. So I don't think I'm as scared anymore, wondering about surfing being in my life.