Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Surf’s up!

Matisse leaves today on vacation, I’ll be joining her in two days. We are about to embark on our first ever full-scale vacation together. Where? We are so not telling, save that there will be a beach. While this is already quite the adventure for us (a hell of a way to spend your third anniversary huh?), Matisse just informed me that there might be surfing available at said secret beach location ™

I have not been on a surfboard in years; I used to do it all the time however… yes Washington State has some great surf, if you are not afraid of dying of hypothermia, getting crushed on the rocks or food poisoning from a 24 hr taco bell.

Back in the glory days of the software boom I had this buddy, we all called him “Lemons”. Now Lemons was what you might call an adventure junkie, I think he climbed his first mountain before most of us figured out how to undo a woman’s bra strap and he was constantly twitching with the nervous energy of someone looking for their next adrenaline fix. Lemons got us into all sorts of trouble back then. See it would always be right around closing time at the bar, we would all have already spent more than I make now in a week on scotch and cigars when Lemons would start his pitch, “dudes, we SO need to go surfing tomorrow!”
“No, no we don’t. It is two am and we should really be tending to the massive hang overs that are now taking root in our frontal lobes”
“The first good wave to hit you in the morning will fix you right up”
“You mean the first wall of ice water to bitch slap our sorry asses?”
“that too”
See, the water off the Washington coast is cold, very cold. How cold you ask? Like swim in it unprotected for about 15 minutes and you are a human Popsicle. Dead, dead, city of dead. Did I happen to mention that the best surfing times were also in the middle of the winter storm season? Yep, a good day of surfing in Washington would be a gray February day when it was raining, sideways. Even better if it was snowing. Lets just say we wore some VERY thick wetsuits back then.

Lemons was the kind of guy who would not take no for an answer and the next thing we knew, there were plans for us all to regroup at the painful hour of 6 am to make the drive to the local surf spot. Now by “local” I mean the THREE HOUR DRIVE from Seattle to the shore. Three hours with a bunch of hung over engineers is not a pretty sight. Inevitably there would always be one, laying prone across the back seat, who would begin to moan “tacos….. I need tacos….”

See, along the way there also happened to be the ONLY taco bell in the world with a 24 hour drive through.

I assure you, tacos are never the answer. Once in the water, we always made a point to give the unfortunate taco consumer a wide berth. There is nothing worse than paddling into a wave, only to have the remains of a regurgitated southwest supreme wash past you. Remember that bit about us getting “bitch slapped by a wall of ice water”. Surfing in the cold Washington waters is nothing like the stuff you see on TV, with the cool blue wall of water cascading over the surfer as they cut a graceful arc through the white foam… nope, Massive rolling walls of angry gray water pound the rocks in their own strange rhythm. Swim over them, dive under them or get crushed by them as they break over your head and bring all their ice cold furry down upon your head. Just whatever you do, when you do finally break through the icy surface, gasping for air and frantically trying to recover your wayward long board. Never, ever turn your back on the incoming waves… or else the next one will pop you right in the back of the head and send you tumbling headlong into the beach face first.

Did I mention that the secret beach location ™ is located in WARM water? Yeah, I might be convinced to find a local board shop, chat up the locals and see if there are any waves to be found.

Just no tacos before hand, I promise.