The best time of day. As long as the alarm conspires with your brain to allow you to experience it. Stumble out of bed in the dark. Don’t kick anything. Out the door, grab your fins-towel-wetsuit. Morning chill. Beautiful, crisp sky. Orion and Jupiter march toward the sea. The wind is offshore. The buoys jumped up overnight.
Pull up, meet the boys in the lot. Too dark to really see. But it sounds big. Long lines of whitewater glow through the salty haze. Strip down in the biting offshore wind and pull on a cold, wet, sandy wetsuit. Always exhilarating. Stare deep into the darkness, trying to catch a glimpse of a wave. Subconsciously time the sound of sets.
Grab your fins, jump up and down to warm the blood and jog down to the beach. Gulls and pelicans laze in the sand. No one else around. A faint glow begins to the southeast. Twilight. The surf is big. But perfect. Peaks stand up and explode far outside. Of course its even bigger than it looks. Anxious laughter. Trepidation. Excitement.
Obviously, a strong drift flows down the coast. Jog up the beach, eyes peeled to the horizon. Big sets march toward shore. Plop down in the sand, stretch a bit, couple deep breaths to open the lungs. Fins on. Happy for the velcro security of fin leashes. Hoots all around.
Run backward into the water. Jump under a powerful wall of white water. Swim. Swim hard. Too excited to notice the chill. Already pulled down the beach. Much bigger than it looks. Approach the lineup. Wear a big set on the head. Big breath. Swim to the bottom. Pulled off the bottom and recycled to the inside. Swim. Swim hard.
Finally make it outside. Sit and catch your breath. Line up a clean one. Offshore spray to the face. Swim hard. Glide into a big one. Woooo. Pull into a big tube, still mostly dark outside, even darker and beautiful inside.
As the sun rises, the offshore spray becomes rainbows. The sun’s warmth battles the chill. Even if its a closeout, go right sometime in the morning light. Mind-bending, psychedelic light spins inside a morning tube. Dawn: the best time of day. No better way to start. Spend the rest of the day crunching sand and giggling about beautiful light and fun rides.
-Cover Photo by Adrian Ramirez Lopez