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who are you

Who are you, he says. It’s early and overcast and the wind is blowing sideways. I’m not a morning person and this combination wasn’t about to change that. Neither was the surf, which was a long way from good. The greeting came with just that edge of habitual hostility that comes as second nature to long-time surfers. Who are you, I’ve never seen you before. A secret handshake, a familiar ritual. I started laughing.

We stand around in the parking lot trying to convince ourselves that the surf isn’t terrible. That peak looks alright. Look at that corner. Sometimes it’s necessary to tell ourselves these little lies. Someone has a new board and it’s duly passed around. Unless it has a fancy resin tint, you can’t tell much about a board without touching it. This one has channels, the nightmare of glassers the world over, but damn fun to run your hands over. Finally we decide it’s not that bad and besides, you got to take that new board out.

Of course, it’s every bit as bad as it looked and then some. The wind’s blowing south, pushing the waves left. I hate going left and I curse the wind and the sky and the too early morning. I try to go right, surfing against the grain. Salmon swim up stream. I am not a fish.

I give up after an hour. You never wear a watch surfing when it’s actually good.

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