02 October 2008

38th-35th Ave, 2 October 2008

Update: Here is the only news I've found online; the comments fill in some additional details. And Surfline has this. More on Tuesday's memorial paddle out is here (scroll to bottom). R.I.P. Mike.

I think a surfer died at the Hook today. When I walked past on my way back to the car, an ambulance was open at the side of the road and a fire truck blocked the parking lot. The crowd on the clifftop was looking intently down the beach instead of at the surfers. From the overlook, I could see a guy on his back next to a surfboard, a paramedic kneeling in the sand beside him, rhythmically compressing his bare chest. Twenty-five minutes later, after I'd changed, there were half a dozen emergency vehicles on the scene, and they were just closing up the ambulance. They weren't hurrying, and the siren didn't blare as they pulled away.

I can't find anything on the news yet. Was it a heart attack? Did he hit his head on a rock and drown? What if it had been high tide, with the beach underwater and access tricky? Could it happen to me out there? It's not often we have to confront an example of our mortality. I do hope he died happy and stoked by a nice last ride.

After that, it seems a little strange, perhaps too trivial, to write about my surf session. So here's an abbreviated form. Oh, and full disclosure, the photos are all from the Hook.

New wetsuit and the Xanadu. Paddled out at 38th. Yellowed fishy-smelling scum patches on the water. Sea otters, SUPers, spongers, dude wearing only boardshorts. Crowded. Nice set waves going overhead but all taken. Non-set waves mushy and moundy, breaking wherever they damn well please. No good spot to sit away from the pack. Tried right, tried left, tried 3 blocks farther west. Sideshore breeze pushing east, so paddle paddle west. Back hurts, better go. Caught one on the way in, but slow and hesitant on the pop-up, blew it. Kept heading in - but wait, caught one back there! Turn around, paddle back out. Caught another, too far inside, whitewater but what the hell, popped up and rode it - yay! Better ending, time to go.

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