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you check the bouys out of habit. there’s never really much surf here in the summer. they should have called it endless winter. endless summer sounds like a punishment.

the bouys claim there’s surf, but they’re probably lying. numbers always lie. you swore you’d never fall for it again, in the way that you’d swear off drink or a bad lover.

still you put the boards on the car. you could check the tide and the water temperature. of course you have them on your phone. they taunt you during the flat days of summer. but you don’t check the tide, you just go.

and then it turns out that for once there’s actually surf even though it’s summer. so you paddle out. someone’s talking about his girlfriend and that party last night. but mostly it’s just surfing. paddle, look left, pull back. look left, pull back. look left, pull back. paddle and go. you surf until you start to think more about the food in your bag than about the next set wave.

then you go into the beach, and the wind is blowing some, so it’s cold. you lie in the sand made warm by the day’s hot sun. up the beach, someone’s smoking pot and the sickly sweet scent hangs on the breeze.

and without even looking, you know when a couple big sets come through. the waves are surprising loud as they smack the sand. in the winter when there’s less sand, the rocks clatter. but now the rocks are covered.

and the guys on the beach are hooting their bros in the lineup. one of the locals just scored a good one, and everyone’s happy, bathed in the glow of afternoon sun and vicarious satisfaction. a visiting pro is too cool to surf with a leash and swims for his board.

you think maybe you should paddle back out. it’s geting good now. but the sand feels so warm on your skin. it all seems like way too much for a summer afternoon. if this is a punishment, it isn’t half bad.

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