The days that we look at the surf report, and decide that it is "no good" to go out and paddle. That is a shitty surf day.
We look at the cams on Surfline, and say, "Holy shit, that is a fucking swamp," or "What the fuck, is this Lake Michigan?"
That is a shitty surf day.
The days that are painfully small, completely blown out, mushy, frustrating, no shape, cold, clammy, rainy, and not worth the paddle out. That is a shitty surf day.
Going out by myself. Getting two close outs and calling it a session. Heading in after thirty minutes of surf. Not seeing one of your homies. NOT ONE!!
I love these shitty days of surf.
Because they don't matter, and do matter, that is why.
Shitty days of surf don't matter because I am already at the beach, while most are still waking up. Heck, some may just be getting home from a tough graveyard shift. People are lumbering out of bed, lethargically brewing up a strong cup of coffee, while I am already at the beach, looking out at the surf.
Shitty days of surf don't matter because I appreciate a one turn wave. I appreciate sitting out in the line up, waiting for another shitty close out. I appreciate getting one pump in. I appreciate a belly ride into shore.
Shitty days of surf just don't matter, because I can be in Wisconsin, where there is no body of water in hundreds of miles in each direction. Fuck that shit, give me some shitty surf any day then.
Why do they matter? Because they show one's dedication, one's grit, one's passion, one's desperation. It shows that no matter what, I am there to get wet. I am there to welcome whatever Mother Nature may offer.
Maybe I am just a nut? Maybe my thought process is not dictated by thought, but rather by feeling. I feel better, no matter what, after paddling out. Even after thirty minutes catching two close outs and being late for work. (Don't tell my boss.)
Or maybe I am just a novice that does not know any better. Small, safe waves are fun. Close outs are fun as long as I stick the drop, or try to pull in. I don't need five turns on a wave to have fun.
Just get wet.
Such is life where we only see pictures of smiling faces, expensive, decadent food on the instagram feed, and young, idealistic bodies of unattainable perfection. There are no pictures of when we fight amongst each other, bickering over stupid shit and then make up. No scenes of laboring hard, tending the fields, sweating over a hot stove, and preparing the food for four hours. Nor do we see all the work of a strict diet, constantly working out, and saying no to the temptations in life. We know so little of how much we put in to capture that moment of beauty and perfection.
So, here's to you, Shitty Surf. You may disappoint, waste time, and even piss me off. Heck, you may even make me not paddle out to do my favorite thing. But without you, I would not appreciate the beauty of the mediocre, perfect days in Manhattan Beach, or the challenge of a pumping, hollow day at Huntington Beach , or the gnarliness of a firing, barreling day in Hawaii. But, you will always be there no matter what, waiting for me to paddle out.
So if someone asks, "How was it?"
Answer, "Shitty, but fun!"