I guess I’m more of a traditionalist than I thought.
I went surfing early this morning. By early I mean dark o’ clock early like usual. This is why it’s called dawn patrol. I was alone this morning which in these crowed times is more than unusual and I was also without my buddy, John who either drives out with me or meets me there.
I got to the sea wall as the sky was only beginning to turn from Indigo to a cobalt blue before becoming a sort of battleship gray and did my usual surf check with cup of coffee in hand. It was a nice, crisp morning as there was no wind to speak of and the full moon was disappearing and the stars beginning to fade. Very nice, indeed.
Anyway, to non-surfers a surf check is generally going by surf spots and seeing what the surf conditions are like. Good? So, so? Naw, I’m going back to bed and so on. Lately I’ve been noticing that this practice seems to be on the verge of becoming extinct.
I watched the swell for a while being aware that the tide was at slack and would soon be turning and coming up. I also noticed that a lot of sand was off of the beach and that sand bars were starting to form. The surf was breaking both right and occasionally left, 3’ to 4’ and only a couple hundred yards off of the wall itself. I haven’t seen it do this in quite some time and I was pretty stoked to be sure.
After about 25 minutes of observing the swell and making sure that it is consistent I suddenly noticed that guys were coming down to the beach with there wet suits already on, expensive boards under arms running for the break! “What the heck?” First, one lone guy and then two guy’s right after him and a couple of minutes later and two more guys. I didn’t know any of these people. When I drove up this morning I was the only person there and I was also the only person on the wall checking the conditions as well and now there are five people in the drink, without even looking just running into the surf ignorant as all hell.
Boy, was I ever missing John’s infamous smart-ass remarks at about this point. Being a couple of old guys, John and I have seen some funny shit happen at the beach over the years and it never fails that you almost always get some arrogant “new-be” not check the surf first and end up running down to the water in wetsuit and with the high-end board under the arm only to find it flatter than a pool table. We just shake our heads and chuckle into our coffees as the “new-be” either slinks off without looking at us, or they go out and bob around in the cold water as shark bait. “Yeah, showed us!”
I do realize that with free web sites and cell phones and all the other modern gadgets that people are finding out what the surf is like before they even see the water. Hell, it’s said that over half of the surf population doesn’t even live by the water! I once on a lark was able to check the surf at my local break from a computer when I was on vacation in the Peruvian mountains! It’s just that crazy now.
Still, I’ve just been a student of watching the weather and knowing my surf spots and how they work in certain weather conditions. This is what they call old school, I suppose. And let me tell ya’ this old school method has paid off as I’ve had plenty of great surf with just me or me and my friends because the computers were claiming it was flat or whatever it is they claim and we were out in the water enjoying quality surf.
After watching the Neoprene Lemmings flail into the water I figured I better get a move on if I want to get some surf myself. I returned to my truck and suited up. The funny part about all of this was that with the time I put in observing the surf this morning I still was able to surf for two hours alone in my spot because the other knuckleheads who were in such a hurry ran over to the usual, popular spot and fought with each other for a decent session. I, on the other hand enjoyed the morning alone with my thoughts and the ocean riding wave, after glassy wave.