It’s been hot the last couple of days. When I say that it’s been hot, I mean that it’s been hot even for a Florida boy like myself. On top of that, California’s heat is very different from Florida’s. Heat in Florida is almost always wet. The air is thick enough to smack you in the face, and you can smell sauna-like moisture everywhere. When the sun beats down like God’s flashlight shining directly on your pathetic life, the heat and the humidity trigger natural instincts to stop being stupid and go find some shade and air conditioning. California heat, by comparison, is very dry and the sun is far more indirect. It’s a sort of deceptive heat, one that makes you wonder when, exactly, you stepped into a blast furnace. In my experience, it can sneak up on you and give you exposure almost before you realize it’s happened.
It’s been a few weeks since I went surfing, too. What better way to beat the heat and turn down the stress factor of a workday in Silicon Valley than to go surfing at dawn?
So, I got up this morning and did just that. I was a little late getting out the door, but not too bad. Cowell’s Beach has been hit-and-miss (mostly miss) lately, so I decided to expand my experience in the greater Santa Cruz area and went to Pleasure Point. It’s a truly beautiful surf spot, though I’m not completely sure how productive the trip was. Basically, I didn’t get any actual wave riding done. I’m not really bothered by that, though, because I’m still very much a beginner and I did get to work on plenty of my basic skills like paddling and sitting on my board. My chest and shoulders are deeply fatigued now. It’s clear I need to add upper body exercise to my weekly schedule! The other major reason that I’m not bothered by not getting any riding done is that I wasn’t the only one with that problem. The swells that were coming in kept breaking at different points. I started pretty far out (wanting the workout of paddling out) and spent a lot of time staring at waves breaking another 100 feet in. Content to watch the other surfers and learn a thing two, I stayed out. When I (and a couple of others who were far out) moved in, though, the waves started breaking farther out, and I spent a lot of time fighting whitewash. Sadly, I didn’t have all morning to just keep waiting and, after an hour, I was actually pretty tired, so I paddled in and packed up.
It was fun, though, popping out in the early hours of the morning to spend time in the ocean and get a workout very different from my usual routine of cycling twice daily. I took my own trip out with my own gear, which was a first, and I made a friendly impression on the other surfers out there. Given that this is a sport where safety and basic control come first, I consider it a good use of my time, even if I didn’t get to work on my pop-up outside of my living room.