THURSDAY JANUARY 20th, by Lutha Leahy-Miller

Secret Spot N0. 1469…

I had been looking forward to the swell all week long. The FNMOC forecast models were predicting solid head high ground-swell for Wednesday and the NOAA was predicting NW winds Wednesday night. Excellent for me since my days off are Tues-Thurs! But then the catch, one of my colleagues at work had a dental visit that she could not change without being charged $50.00 and so I begrudgingly agreed to fill in for her on Wednesday if it didn’t look like the surf conditions were going to be ripe. That was on Friday when I agreed to fill in, a full five days before the day the swell was forecast to arrive.

Next day, on Saturday, the NOAA had changed the forecast and was now calling for W winds at 20 KTS with some 30 KT gusts. “I’ll work for you no problem.” I said. “The winds won’t be right anyway, so no worries.” In the back of my mind however was that slight sinking feeling of the possible NW winds that just might make themselves known the day the swell was due to arrive on Wednesday…

Sunday morning, the NOAA was again calling stiff W winds and so I was ready to be the ‘good guy’ and fill in for the beleaguered dental patient. No problem. We worked all day, got things done, things were looking good. Same thing on Monday… Now I had Tuesday off to get some gear ready for the swell, make sure I had the right size Patagonia R4 wetsuit (since their sizing is waay smaller/tighter than any of the other wetsuit brands) and get some work done at home that needed catching up on. Plus, family time with my wife and son was in due need…

Fun day off…

Now, Weds morning… I woke up at dawn, then went back to bed because I had been up late the night before doing some meditation and chanting practices. Reading too. At around 7AM, I got up, made my morning offerings on my Buddha shrine, got the tea and breakfast going for my family, spun by the school to drop off my son, and then shot off to work in time to get out the surf report by 10:30AM. Things were going good.

The surf was as expected; W winds, solid little ground-swell, and not really worth missing work for, or so I thought, until… Until around 10:45, 15 minutes after I had finished the surf report I began getting the calls about how good the surf was and how the winds were now light NW instead of W!?!? Noooooo!!!!!!!! It was a trap!! Trapped in the surf shop hearing how good it was all day long; nooooooo!!!!!! THE HORROR!! THE HORROR OF IT ALL!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I began to try and reel myself back in, trying not to curse my co-worker who was elsewhere getting her teeth bored through laid up in a dental chair. I tried to focus on my work. Yes, yes. The website, the spring orders. Yes, yes. The surfboards, the wetsuits… THE EFFIN’ WAVES!!! AAARRRGHH!!! Okay, okay, try to focus I thought to myself. The horror… The horror…

From that aforementioned moment at 10:45AM until 2:30PM, I was constantly, frenetically, obsessively, oscillating back and forth between the dual roles of a calm and centered business-like surf shop worker and that of a man possessed by his surfer demons. The demons won, and by 2:45, I was out of there, thanks to the grace of Rick, our surf shop’s manager and my own personal savior!! Thank God!!

I had heard reports from all of the secret spots and took the drive to secret spot number 1469 that I felt would be the best. I did check Ditch quickly, but it sucked. So on I went to 1469 and as I got closer, I noticed the patch of clear sky just beyond where the surf spot lay. “Perhaps I will get lucky?” I wondered to myself..?

The drive was pleasant, a total relief to be out of the shop and on the open road. Once at spot 1469, I parked, got out, took the hike, and as I footed over the beach burm there it was; perfect, glassy, 4-6 foot perfection with absolutely no one out. Flawless…

Stoked!! I shot back to my car walking speedily, pulled on my spankin’ new Merino wool lined R4 5mil, grabbed my FOB Rich Price quad out of the back of my car, and hoofed it on back to the break.

Walking down the beach I was wondering how good the suit was going to work. “Was it really that warm? Or was it all just hype?”

Smooth glassy water. Green-grey-glass and rose textures and dotting skies and some plumes of spray on the bigger sets, no seals, but the wind was lax and no one was around. Pure bliss…

I began wading into the 40-degree waters and make my way out towards the channel to get out to the spot. Some nice chest to head high perfect little sets were wrapping in around the point and I was all over it. So happy and glad I had agreed to put in my time at the shop beforehand and glad too that Brett was able to get her teeth done without having to worry. A good deed rewarded with perfect waves is a good deed more than worth doing. (Too bad I had complained during the day and ruined the merit of the good deed, but oh well, at the least the reward was still there.)

For the next two hours I dropped into perfect right after perfect right. Solo at first, and then with only two more guys out until dark. Sharing waves, sunset, waves too cold for most, no one around, perfect conditions, not a drop out of place, my board working beautifully and me only a little bit rusty—it was a session well worth it.

By the time I got out it was dark, but I was still super-warm and realized I would from now on be able to surf in the coldest of waters without hindrance thanks to the new suit. Here’s to winter…

Afterwards, the two guys I saw out there said hello, we exchanged numbers, said “Until next time” and went our separate ways. The drive home was happy, and I now sit here by the wood stove at my laptop typing about it for the Main Beach Blog. A good day by any standards, hopefully to repeated again soon.

—Happy surfing…

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About mainbeach

The natural resource for surfing, stand up paddling, kayaks, lessons, tours, surf camp, beach wear and all things outdoors in The Hamptons, Eastern Long Island, Montauk and beyond.
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