Surfing Vancouver Island  

Sick Days by Neil Borecky  

Sick Days

     There is a certain form of torture that exists only in coastal areas. It is possibly the cruelest, most agonizing form of mental torment that can be inflicted upon an individual. I have constructed a crude diagram to illustrate this predicament (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The problem with wave forecasting.

     I enjoy my job for the most part. It gives me money to eat. This is a good thing. I once considered quitting it, living off the land, but as I soon discovered after a week of semi-self-sufficient wilderness camping, that my skills as a fisherman probably couldn’t keep a small rodent alive, let alone retain a girlfriend who had just about enough of eating boiled fiddle-heads and dubious mushrooms. So I do other things in exchange for food. This works extremely well until the above situation occurs. I’ll be just going to bed when I check the wave reports: 21 foot westerly swell, 18-20 seconds, Winds from the east north east… day only.

     I’m a firm believer in sick days. I’m also a firm believer in what I like to call "The Swell Rule". In fact, I attempted to have this written into any work-related agreement that I have. Sadly, I’m perhaps not the most astute individual. As I was busily explaining how to read wave charts to my boss, and conveying the logic and purity behind "The Swell Rule", he was busy copying down the web addresses. He later showed me something interesting. Astonishingly, my sick days tended to coincide very well with swell height.

 Figure 2. Sick Days.

                         Figure 3. Boy do I feel sick....

   Of course one might point out that a compromise exists. Get up at 4 a.m. and surf until 9 a.m., or leave early and catch part of the day. The latter seems most appropriate seeing as time has a strange way of warping itself out on the water leaving entire mornings and days to pass without warning. I've figured the time formula out for the nerds in the audience. Keep in mind these are relative values and vary from individual to individual.

The Surf-Time Continuum:

Scenario 1: Skipping work:

Ts = Tw * 5, where Ts = Time surfing and Tw = Time for people at work.

Eg. The as one hour ticks by on the water, back on land, 5 hours have passed.

Scenario 2: Non-surfing Friends or Dog on Beach Ts = Tf * 3, where Ts = Time surfing and Tw = Time as experienced by Friends or Dog..  Scenario 3: Cold, Wet Girlfriend on Beach ( locked out of car because you have key in wetsuit). Ts = TG * 10, where Ts = Hours surfing and TG = Days without intimacy.

     Figure 4. Tuesday Morning 11:00 a.m……must be a flu going around.

     It is difficult to grasp for the majority of the outside world who's choice of life rarely revolves so intricately around weather patterns. The only other folks who are on such good terms with channel 69, or have the number 474 7998 (now 363 6880) etched in their brains, are wind-surfers. Tennis, golf, basket-weaving; these can all occur on any sunny day, but it's far less frequent that a massive swell sweeps through providing opportunity to the wave-starved souls to get the ride of their lives, or at least get their organs rearranged for a few hours. Sure there are lots of days where you can pick up a few ankle-snappers on a lazy afternoon, and these days are still preferable to well…just about anything ..but when the bouy's start bobbing up like pogo-sticks even your own sister's wedding can wait for another day.

               Figure 5. Working on riding the lazy days.

     With the rapid approach to summer, the familiar "….moderate to heavy southwest swell"… will no longer sing its siren song from the other end of the phone. The yellows and greens will fade to darker blues on your computer screen and the term "mush" will refer to more than just a bowl of instant oatmeal that you cram into your face before throwing your board onto the roof of the car. Enjoy it while it lasts kids, because it's a long summer.

             Figure 6. Sunset Surfing by the Seashore

Overheads and Off-Shores, See ya next time

Neil Borecky.








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