Somewhere along the east coast of the USA a small air pocket changes direction due to a local fire, resulting in an accumulated and unforecasted change in direction of a small depression developing just off the eastern seaport. Forecast models change and swing. New numbers are crunched as the world’s weather patterns shift. Two depressions collide mid-Atlantic, isobars resist and then accept the new variations. A new storm is born. A big one. The data is crunched again and a new forecast model is favoured. One that brings swell to our shores. Good and unmissable waves.
It’s 10pm by the time word gets to my mobile (cell) device. Alerts from my fellow wave junkies start to arrive thick and fast. New plans are hatched and discounted. Wind, period, direction, tide are considered. My wife knows. The phone lighting up. Its the only time I become frantic. Sweaty, clammy digits slipping on the touch screen.
“Surf?” she asks, her eyebrows raised.
I have commitments. I know this. She knows this. Waiting for me to ask the question. The one I might phrase right.
“I’ll make it up to you, you know I will” is how the exchange ends.
Not the first nor last time she has heard these words. The humble looks and sorrowful face of an addict that is torn. What is right and what must happen. We sleep on an understanding reached. The price is high. The price is worthy. The price is the price.
Bleep says my alarm. I need it not. I have been awake for hours. It’s still dark as I stub my toe dressing and muffle my reaction. My wife stirs. She knows and mumbles sleepily “Good surf...”. I will owe her one.
Past the grom’s room, tip toe, quiet. It’s not a day for him. To big for the small addict I have made who lives in my house. I will owe him one.
The dog opens one eye. She knowingly looks. I pray for her to keep quiet. A snort of disgust. Knows she is not getting walked yet. I will owe her one.
Garage door creeks, slide door on the van rumbles. Everything is so loud. No wind. The salivation of the whats and hows start. The wave goggles are on. A rolling start down the road and my trusty partner in the back. I floor the accelerator. Dust is thrown. Surf is on.
First to arrive. No wind. Low tide. Low swell. A set comes. It’s not up to my goggles. It’s small. Not wrapping the point. An amigo skids to a halt. My face is mirrored. Disbelief. Big tides, too big, too low.
The drive home, feeling cheated. Along the coast. No water, very low, it’s a full moon. Maybe later if it can be done. Take the coast road, longer, but not in a rush. Sleeping bodies at home. No rush. I owe them.
Rounding the point. What’s that? Looks like a wave. Looks like a slice of what I was promised. Confused. A sandbar that should not be. Super low tide. A sandbar that is not normally there. Brakes are applied. Suit is on. Do I make the call? What I should do or what I must do.
I enter alone. The wondrous feeling. The one I was promised. I don't feel guilty. I just don’t care. Time stands still as I live in the moment. That moment we all know.
After, it happens. The payback I know I must give. But give it I will and heartfelt it will be with a smile on my face. Because feed it I must. The addict inside.
Now he sleeps. Full to the brim of stoke. Resting easy he is.
It’s 9am in the US. Another low pressure spins up ...