SPOT N in MARCH
it was the first Saturday in March and Tai and I had just made the three
hour drive from Ladysmith to the west side of the Island. We checked [spot L].
There was a nice shoulder high wave breaking on the sand bar. It peeled
both ways with a symmetry and ascetic beauty that belongs in a Coppola movie.
My face flushed and I felt the air filling my lungs. How can this be. The buoy
had been reading onshore winds 15 to 40 knots. It had been blown out all week
and here was this vision surrounded by a calm sea. Over beside Rock 17 it
was about one and a half times overhead, but to get there I would have to walk
past this wave that I was already developing a relationship with, and that was
never going to happen.
I had a nervous thought. I had to go up the road to a surf shop before we got
wet. Would this new love in my life wait for me, or would she leave with the
first breeze that happened by. I spoke out loud and broke the spell. "Tai, do we
go up to the shop first or do we go right in?" I cannot tell you on what authority
he spoke, but he assured me the wave would be there when we returned. Off we
drove, 10 km up the road to buy a pair of leashes to secure my fins to me.
Fear not friends. I have not strayed from the domain of the "stanups" and fallen
in to that dark foreboding realm of "prone spongers".
I found a used nikonos IV-A at a price I could almost afford and decided to put
it and my melon in harms way, and get some pics.
Leashes (or whatever these things are called) in hand we made a quick check of
Spot N. As we pulled off the road I asked a surfer who was emerging
from the trail "how is it". He gave me a hard unfriendly look and snapped "Flat
and cold. Not even worth putting my f#*!$g suit on". As he passed the van
window he leaned in. The terse look became a broad, friendly smile and he
gushed "It's a little mushy at the end of the ride but it's a fun day out there. I've
seen it better, but not for some time.
We went down the trail in one of those "we're too old and dignified to run but
we're too excited to stroll" gaits. There was maybe fifteen guys out sitting on a
calm ocean. The wind was kicking up and I could see white water off the point
and out past the lineup, but four hundred feet off shore where these guys sat,
there was nearly no chop. I was bent over putting on my fins, and attaching my
camera lanyard when Tai yelped look. The wave was as pretty as any I have
ever seen, well overhead, slowly breaking in a few spots, and had to be two
hundred and fifty feet long.
Seven guys popped up on it. Three of them worked
it nearly to the shore. We raced out. I could see the guys down our way looking
me over as we approached. What's this boardless swimmer doing out here? I
held the camera aloft and yelled "Mind if I take some Pictures?" The nearest
one yelled sure, the next guy, Jason, wanted me to send him a copy, and a few
guys beyond him threw their thumbs up, at least I think it was their thumbs. I
kept out of the way, on this first photography session. The sky was quite dark,
and I ended up with a lot of small dark silhouettes, but under the conditions I am
happy as a clam with the results of my first foray into surf photography. The
guys assure me they will surf right in on me next time.
Jason yelled "What are the pictures for?"
"A home page on the internet" I replied. "Kewl" says Jason. "I got a longboard
in the van you can use, you got to have some of this wave."
Although I had seen him out surfing, I had never talked to Jason before. "Thanks
man, I have my board with me. Just have to play with this camera today."
"Well" Jason quipped "You have got to be dedicated to pass up surfing today."
What a great session. Everyone hooting and hollering. Broad smiles
I love this Island and the laid back humanity of it's inhabitants. I had a great
time surfing on Saturday, and I never had one run. The vibe out there was one of
sheer joy and elation, and it was contagious and pervasive. No one escaped.
We never thought to look at Spot L as we drove past on our way home. We
were already full.
Smiling on the Island
THE OTHER END OF MARCH
Most of March the wind howled like a banshee. Once in a while it would
drop and the waves were epic, or so I'm told. I seemed to be on the wrong side
of the Island for most of these respites. Alt.surfing world surf days were rainy,
windy, and cold with snow in the pass and even hail at sea level.
Saturday produced a more than double overhead at spot C which only a very
few ventured out to. It was lightning fast and the rides were short. I
tried snorkeling out to take some pics, but I could find no place to station
myself. It was brutal and I effected a hasty retreat. I spent a short
session in the shoreline soup wishing I was a better surfer.
Sunday spot C shrunk to shoulder height and cleaned up a bit at times. The wind
shifted widely through the day and there were a few good rides. Still cold and
pouring rain, and you could feel the strength of the approaching storm. It was
the kind of day when you know everyone out is a real surf slut.
Finaly the storm hit and blew us all ashore and home.
Waiting for the power to come back on