The alarm went off too early. That was the only explanation for why the the darn thing was screeching away so soon on a Saturday morning. To the left, soft blue light wrapped around the shades and filled the room with an underwater glow. Why was it so early?
Then it slowly started to come back - with the sluggish pace of a mind only half awake - the promising surf forecast, the late night plans, setting the early alarm. Tired neurons began to shrug off their fatigue and fire more rapidly. The forecast was predicting 4-6 feet, which usually means 2-4, but I had been eyeing those numbers as if they were the winning digits of the lottery.
For the next 30 minutes, the morning was filled with the sounds of a familiar routine. The crackling and sizzling of eggs hitting a hot frying pan, the pop of a toaster and the smell of neoprene provided the ambiance for an underlying excitement.
After one last cursory glance at the forecast, bags and boards were packed and tires began to roll due East. The sun was shining, the traffic was non-existent, and there were waves to be caught.
The sun was shining...
An hour into the drive the sky began to darken as the sun slipped behind an opaque veil of grey clouds. The once vibrant colors of the trees along the road faded into a blur of desaturated greens. Every mile closer to the ocean brought us deeper into the thickening clouds.
The rain held off until we reached the last few blocks before the 1st street jetty. As we flew through intersections, brief glimpses of lumpy waves throwing themselves onto the beach were visible in between the lines of hotels that stood like silent, concrete sentinels before us.
We reached the water just in time to see the last remnants of sunshine be overrun by a fast moving grey wall. The wind was blowing hard onshore, sending drops of rain mixed with salt spray straight into the faces of the few people remaining on the beach. In the face of another approaching band of thunderstorms, we decided to swing around to the other side of the inlet where there was some protection from the wind and paddle out quickly to snag a quick session before the storm hit.
By the time we crossed the river mouth and found a parking space the clouds has started to blow off and the groups of surfers making their way towards the beach was a reassuring sight. One last look at the weather report showed that the storms to the South had moved away from shore and our short window of opportunity to get in the water was widening.
A quick jog down a narrow path, flanked on each side by head high concrete walls, led us down to the Ocean. Seemingly as soon as our feet touched the sand, the sun reappeared in the sky, lighting up the white trails of spray on top of the waves.
The peaks were shifty and deceptively punchy but super fun from the right takeoff point. The Flying Fish zipped through section after section, continually picking up speed until each wave reared up in front of me and dumped its remaining energy all at once across the sandbar.
The rain returned later that afternoon, but by that point arms had been sapped of their energy and faces were tired from smiling. Driving home, the sunset lit up the road ahead and created the impression that the trees were ablaze all around us. The trip didn't offer what we expected, but the things we couldn't plan out, like wandering into the wrong restaurant and discovering a menu with exactly what we were craving, left me wanting more.
Here's to more travels to come.