Up Early – October Surfing In Montauk – By Lutha Leahy-Miller
Up early, 5AM. -Pour some water from the late 90’s era round Brita filter into the red steel kettle. ‘Click’ ‘click’ ‘click’ goes the stove and wchoow (ch as in chutzpa) wchoo goes the stovetop burner. The tea-water will be ready in a few minutes time…
I turn on my MacBook, start up Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, and then wait for it all to be ready for the daily, pre-dawn-silicone/armchair surf-check. Meanwhile, I pull out one of my Chinatown-bought clay teacups, with the Chinese inscriptions and tea cover tops on them, drop in a German hewn tea-strainer basket, and spoon in a good plus-size helping of caffeine-emboldened, organic English breakfast tea to get the day rolling smart.
Now, the computer is ready… I punch up Buoy 44025 and see that the swell is a solid 6.6 feet at 14 seconds out of the ESE. That means certain secret-spots in Montauk will be firing, and should be showing at least 1-2 feet overhead on the sets.
Clicking on the details and forecast for the day I see the call for NW winds, perfect!! Offshore winds, overhead surf, and glassy conditions all day long! What could be better!
The water is still in the low 60s, and that means all it takes to stay warm for the killer 3 hour session is a lightweight 3/2mm fullsuit, stoked! The only problem today will be the crowds since this is a weekend, but, what can you do.
The kettle is just starting to whistle so I quickly turn it off so as not to wake my son and wife who are both, (luckily), still fast asleep at this black, wee hour of the morning. I have to get out early to make it into the lineup by sunrise, so strong black tea and an early pre-dawn start are the only way to go.
By 5:35 I’m in the car with 3 of my choicest boards; the 6’10” Rusty pintail for the 12-15 faced waves, (if we get them), the 6’2” logoless Rick Hamon squashtail, and the random 6’2” Doc Lausch Thang, a tri fin bat tail Bonzer. Lastly, I throw my 3/2 fullsuit into the hatchback and I’m off!
For 45 minutes plus all I hear blaring through my car stereo’s speakers are the White Stripes, the Gorillaz, and the Dead Weather. Finally, after an hour long schlep, I’m at the Montauk secret-spot… Down the trail I go and there it is, perfect surf!! One of the wader-clad out-of-town surfcasters is sucking on a Marlboro whilst standing idly staring into the breakers before him. I saunter up to him and we start to talk shop, so to speak.
“So, you going out there or what?” he asks me first.
I nod affirmatively and then ask him about the fishing.
He says he’s caught nothing, but then right after saying that another fisherman trapes by with a stringline full of dangling fish. The smoker-fisherman shakes his head and we walk up to the parking lot together. He is going home in defeat, but I am just getting started, and the waves are a cool 6-8 feet plus with perfect offshore wind-conditions, crystal deep-blue water, a rising blood-orange-red early morning sun, and only 5 guys out.
©2011 Lutha Leahy-Miller