11 April 2008

Montara, 11 April 2008

There comes a time when the desire to surf becomes akin to a physical need, like hunger. After being shut out of the water for a while, it gets to be an insistent craving, and last night I started needing a fix real bad. For too long we've had strong winds in San Mateo county blowing out the surf, with not enough swell to go around making it into the sheltered areas of Santa Cruz (meaning big crowds on small waves at the points).

So today I just had to get wet. Especially as I'm seriously in need of some stress relief, and being in the ocean always soothes my soul. There's an issue at work that will result in heavy shit hitting the fan down the road if it doesn't get resolved soon, and I'm in a position where much of it would end up on me. I've come up with a good plan to keep the brown stuff from ever flying in the first place, but the higher powers don't want to implement it. Office politics have always mystified me; people so intent on defending their turf that they become impediments and even harmful in the grand scheme of things. I've just gotta stop caring so much, remind myself it's only a job and a means to pay for wetsuits, surfboards and trips to warmer surf spots.

Really I should have headed to the coast this morning, but I talked myself out of it for a couple reasons. First, the water now is hovering around - omg! - 49 degrees, and when it's that cold, 70-degree air sounds much more enticing than 50-degree air. Second, after a frustrating day at work, I had a jumbo glass of Viognier last night with dinner. I'll always suspect that being hungover may have contributed to my back injury from going over the falls at Linda Mar two summers ago, so I try to avoid that now. If I'm planning to surf early I don't drink the night before, but I didn't see surfing today as a possibility until well after dinner last night.

So I decided to go after work, but as happens too often lately, I got stuck in a meeting and left later than I wanted to. By the time we reached Linda Mar, there were 50 million people in the water, and no parking spaces. And by no parking spaces, I don't mean just no ding-free spaces suitable for my new car, but literally no empty spaces. Of course, not all of those people were in the water, but it was super crowded, with not much wave action going on, and that at best chest high. So we kept on drivin' south.

What a difference a few miles makes. While there may have been a light, unnoticed breeze at Lindamar, there was a strong onshore/slightly sideshore wind blowing at Montara, whitecaping the ocean almost to the inside. A few guys were out, with some wave kayakers and bodyboarders, but they were getting infrequent micro-waves.

This leads me to create a second exception to the Tyrfing rule (that my surfboard must get wet whenever it leaves the house). The first exception, let's call it the Temporal Pleasure Index or TPI, allows for canceling surfing plans when time in the water would be exceeded by time getting into and out of the wetsuit, if the chance of catching a wave is slight. Now I realize there must be a second exception, let's say it's the Pleasure Potential Index or PPI, which allows for canceling a session when the likelihood of enjoyment is very, very slim. (OK, so I'm an engineer and I work with numbers a lot. Maybe sometime when I'm really bored and have a lot of free time, I'll quantify these parameters. Or not.)

Today, with the water below 50 degrees and a stiffy breeze mostly blowing out the surf at Montara, or a hike from distant parking to surf within touching distance of six people at Linda Mar, I invoked newly-minted exception #2. And I'm not happy about it. S and I did go for a walk along the beach at Montara, which is my favorite local beach, winning the distinction for being prettiest, with gold sand bordered by cliffs and as much solitude as one can expect near San Francisco. Just walking on the beach has restorative properties, but to a substantially lesser degree than being in the water. I still need to surf, and hope things work out better Sunday when I plan to meet up with new surfing buddy T. And in the meanwhile, at least there was a big glass (or two) of Hey Mambo White waiting for me at the Half Moon Bay Inn.

P.S. Apparently the winds calmed an hour or so later. Crap.

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