Isn’t there only ever one answer to that question?
I was already struggling with my time management. Work was full on and littered with deadlines, the children had grown to the stage when school sports had become a thing, and with two kids in junior school there were different sports at different locations every single day of the week. I had a full day, every day, and there was very little time to surf.
Without enough time to surf, I slipped back into some road running. I needed to stay fit, and without the time to get into the water, I reverted back to those hard and fast half-hour running missions, just to get the body moving, to turn the engine over, to try my best to keep the middle-age spread at bay.
I seemed to slow down a tad on desperate, deadline-derived work yesterday at lunchtime, and knowing full well that there were waves around and that there was an onshore pattern approaching, I raced down to the point.
There were three guys out, three to-four foot high tide waves reeling down, and a fresh off shore grooming the waves to perfection. As I arrived I saw the one guy – a mate of mine – get a bomb set, ride it all the way through to the inside and scramble over the rock and in. Two guys left – I started scrambling into my wetsuit.
As I was zipping up he arrived next to me. I could see that he was cold. He was blue tinged and shivering in his 4/3. “It’s fucking cold!” he said to me. “The waves are firing, but it really is freezing.”
“Worth a surf?”
“Fuck yes, but it’s seriously chilly. I don't know where the cold stream came from, but don’t sit around chatting.”
I looked back at the lineup. It was now empty. There were plenty of people milling around, coming in over the rocks, in the car park, and in their cars, but no one in the water. “Little chance of that happening,” I said. “I’ll just keep busy out there.”
I quickly planned my session in my head. ‘Just put head down,’ I planned silently to my self. ‘Go the thirty minutes and have one goal in mind – wave count.’
I set my GPS watch, ran down to the jump-rock and launched without feeling the water. It was a frigid initial shock that never seemed to wear off. It must have measured at about 13 degrees with a nice wind chill factor. I had a hoodie, but I knew that the 3/2 Steamer was going to prove to be insufficient pretty early in my session. I got busy.
Little waves with no shoulder – I went for them and went straight into cutbacks from slopey takeoffs. Bigger, fatter sets with no wall whatsoever – I took off and played around with the bottom turns. Longer wider closeouts – I went, and pumped as hard as I can, maintaining higher lines and finding sweet little speed lines before getting closed-out and ice-cold flushes. It was fun. I had 30 minutes, and I was on a mission. To catch everything that moved.
One other youngster joined me. He saw that I was surfing hard, so he let me be, not keen on trying to make conversation. As the time ticked down my wave counter stood at 9 rides – not bad for 30 minutes, but I wanted to make it into double figures. A high tide wedge came rearing down and across, bouncing off the point and looking like a very small right-hand version of The Cobra at G-Land. I paddled hard, the kid whistled, the wave pitched and I went with the pitch, flying through the air without my board.
My 30 minutes were up, and I checked my watch. It was still stuck on 9 waves. The wipeout hadn’t counted, seeing as I had not even got close to my feet as I lurched over the falls.
By this stage I was full icicles, and headed in. As I was getting dressed in the car park, quivering and shaking from the cold, another one of my mates arrived. There was still only the kid in the water
“Worth a surf?”