tools of the trade


The Wave Less Traveled

My surf buds and I sit on our boards between waves, and often the subject finding a fun new spot to surf.  We compare notes, talk about making plans, only to see each other next weekend at our usual break.  Thankfully, I have a great surf bud who is more action than talk.  When this weekend approached, she suggested driving a few miles up the coast.  We arranged to meet early the next morning and head out.

Now early is relative, but considering I attended my son’s surprise engagement dinner the night before, I think I did pretty well.

We decided to take the back roads, and stay of the oft-crowded beach highway until we got close to our destination.

We’re very fortunate to live on the east coast of Florida.

No matter where you go, there are pockets of beautiful scenery, and places where development hasn’t reached.

It took a little longer, but the scenery was worth it.

We were relieved when we reached the beach and found out that we hadn’t missed anything.

But it didn’t seem to matter which way we turned; there were no waves.

But the day was young, and we paddled around enjoying the nuances of our newfound spot.  The tide started going out, and our wave selection grew from flat to 1-2′ and glassy. Some were maybe even a little bigger. Maybe.  Ironically, just as the tide turned, we discovered another friend in the lineup. She had also wanted to try somewhere different, and ended up at the exact same spot.  Small waves, small world.

We spent two more hours in the water before giving up.  A quick browse through the local surf shop and a stop for a Slurpee for the ride home made the day complete.  But not before we made a pact to do this again, and soon.

We all get into ruts.  I drive the same way to work every day, watch the same TV shows, and wear the same comfy jeans.  Think of how many things you do exactly like you did the day before.  I know, I know, sometimes routine is a good thing.  You don’t want to get off course and forget something major, like picking up the kids, or letting the dog out.

My point is: change can be can be good.  So shake it up a little.  Try a new board, or wipe the dust off an old one.  Find a new spot.  Take all rights, or all lefts.  Surf with a new friend, or an old one you haven’t seen in a while.  Go off in another direction.  You never know what, or who, you may find.

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When this girl can’t surf, she surfs…

…the web looking for some good surfing websites.  First, there’s my favorite surf forecast:  It’s great for predicting the waves around here, and I love the little graph that tells you exactly when the waves should be best.  Pretty accurate from what I’ve seen.

I’m also a fan of the webcams at the Sunglow Pier.  They’re perched on both the north and south sides of the pier so I can get a pretty good idea of the current conditions fairly close to home.  Of course, if I check it at work and the waves look good (not that I’d do that…), it can make for a long day of wavedreaming when I’m supposed to be working.

I haven’t spent nearly enough time on the surf gear sites.  I found Essential Surf early on, and have made a few purchases over the years.  Of course, there’s Craigslist with their lists of used boards to consider, and YouTube with all the great surf videos.

What are some of your favorites?

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Preparing for warmer days…

It’s January in Florida, and it’s been a mild one at that.  The water temp has fluctuated, but is hovering in the high 60’s.  If I had my way, that’s as cold as it would get, but I’m probably not that lucky.

Last season some of my friends acquired spring suits to deal with the days when the water is still cool, but the air is warm.  I held back, and wore my wetsuit all the way through the early spring. The last few wearings had me dumping water down the front on sunny days to keep from roasting.  I gradually moved to a board shorts and a thick rash guard, but there were a few breezy days when that wasn’t quite enough.

I looked at spring suits, but couldn’t justify the price for something I would only wear a few times a year.  But there’s a benefit to telling friends you surf.  I got a call last weekend from one who told me about a “wetsuit” he thought would fit me for $10 at a thrift store.  He’d actually gone to the trouble of moving it to the back of the rack to give me a chance to get there before someone else bought it.  I was skeptical, but headed out to see what he had found.  Wouldn’t you know, it was a spring suit in almost new condition. I was going to buy it regardless of fit, as surely someone I knew could use it.  But I decided to try it on anyway, and quickly found there’s no easy way to wiggle into one in a tiny dressing room.  I’m sure the other women waiting in line were wondering what I was doing as I bumped into the wall a couple of times getting it on and off. (My middle name is definitely not “Grace”.) Lucky for me, it was a perfect fit, and is now safe and sound in my closet waiting for those in-between days ahead.

Now if only this “winter” they speak of would hurry up…

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