Sunday, December 9, 2012

Surfing the Bark Expedition

Just before noontime on Thursday I got that stir-crazy kind of feeling like If I didn't get out of the house soon, I was gonna go nuts.  The surf was reported to be small, but clean and ridable and a perfect day to surf longboats.  Kayak surfing hasn't been on my mind though - the fourteen foot standup board has.  At 14 feet it's pretty darn long for a surf outing but I figured if I can handle long kayaks surely I can handle this huge board.  I tossed the log on the car and motored towards the coast.

After maybe 30 seconds of watching the waves I was assured they were perfect for the equipment I brought.  "Let's go, we're burning daylight" I said to myself out loud while jogging back to the car.

The Bark is a reasonably fast board, but it's heavy and that makes it really slow to accelerate.  It takes a few strokes to get up to speed and that's not a desired characteristic in the surfzone.  After a few warm up rides on the far shoulder, I worked my way into the uncrowded lineup where four others were surfing the peak on regular surfboards.  I spent the first few waves sliding down the wave like a sea kayak, rather than carving.  I wasn't yet used to the weight of the board, wasn't engaging the rail properly and had to use low braces to stay on the board.  It was fun, but I wasn't in control.  Then it clicked.  I worked the rails more, got used to the weight and was nothing but smiles the rest of the day.

By now, the other surfers had paddled in, leaving me alone in the lineup with a few curious seals and a dimming sun getting closer to the horizon.  Before getting shark-fever I paddled to the next break and joined two other guys.  This time I just jumped in when a nice wave came to me.  It was twice the size of the others and really fun until it closed out on the sandbar.  I repeatedly got lured into the sandbar trap, staying on waves that were too fun to peel off of before they closed out.  After 30 minutes I caught my wave of the day, shoulder high and peeling.  That's what it felt like, at least.  I'm sure it  looked ridiculous from the beach, but who cares.  That wave alone was worth the long drive.  It was exactly what I needed to get out of my morning funk.  I'd completely forgotten about whatever it was that had me crazy this morning and was re-energized.  So nice.  As the sun set, I replayed that wave over and over in my mind, slid my sandals off and drove the curvy roads a bit faster than I should have.  So fun..

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