NOV 2011 DAWN PATROL

Dawn patrol last Weds. Super frigid air-temp conditions hovering just above the 20 degree mark in the Pine Barrens when I awoke at 5am. I groggily sneak to the back door so as not to wake the wife and kid and crack open the door. I can hear the swell pounding outside my house, it must be big, or at lest head high in worst case. Out in the front yard I see delicately frosted pale-green-grass curls, swirled perfect circlets, all over in repeating patterns. Out the door and down into the basement I go to select three boards for the day. In the end, what look good to me are the RPD 5.8 rocket-fish, my 6.2 CI Tangent if it’s big enough, and the 5.10 RPD swallow tail. I load them into the hatchback, grab my hooded 4/3, boots and gloves and I’m off.

An hour or so and a 20 oz 7-11 cup of coffee later I’m out in MTK checking spot x; no one else around… It’s huge!! Double overhead at spot x, but the wind’s wrong. Spot y is more manageable, but too much whitewater and again, the wind is still wrong. But, the sound and the smell of the briny salt sea morning air feels incredibly good, even though some of my knuckle joints ache from the decades of cold water surfing. It feels a little circular disks of cartilage are lodged between my thumb and pinky knuckles in the 1st and 2nd joints that emanate from the base of my hands. Slight gnarl from winter water-time spent, and going gloveless in 54-degree waters for a few decades on end. Brine morning mist and young winter’s stark sunshine peel over blue and broadly, from the far out ocean horizon to the little and shrunken, cold dirt-sodden cliffs on the beach. Cobbled rocks, stones, pebbles, and grainy sands roll under the swells lashing the beach as Atlantic waves do, in their rhythmic/timed cold water fashion.

I spend about 30 minutes carefully looking over ‘spot y’ from a few different angles before deciding to move on to more peaceful waters. There is still no one else out, and my medium-large wave alter ego is nowhere in sight, nor is Sammie with the 8’ CI gun which I am hoping to ride… Or rather, that I am hoping to paddle out on. Lots of water moving, too much in fact for the 6.2 chippy chip that I have erroneously brought in the back of my car. I should have strapped the semi guns to my roof, but, the buoy was down and I really didn’t think the waves would be that big…

Ditch it is I guess, and so I pack it in, and walk back up the trails to the parking lot and get back into my car, driving off to waves of lesser glory and smaller posture, but at least my boards will work there. And, maybe the wind will be better. Damp NE winds are never really any good in Montauk’s hinter Atlantic regions. Oh well.

Back in ye accursed olde dirt lot, bright-pale brilliant-blue cloudless winteresque sky expands wide overhead, and nothing beleaguers it—perfect/clear. Dirt lot nearly empty. The dreaded dirt lot. More kooks in a square mile than is possible anywhere on earth, (except maybe LA). There’s only two or three cars. A kind of van of some sort, and two Range Rover surfers who just keep wandering around in circles wondering if they are really going to have the balls to paddle out in the chest high burgers or not. Over and out to the right, where the jetty used to be, there’s a small gaggle of paddle-faries, some doing well, most looking ugly. Out in front though, there’s only two guys out, and the set waves are coming in clean and regular every few minutes, with the sets topping out in the head high range every so often and with clean and friendly November conditions.

I stand there on the grass bluff puff thing for a while. Just above the beach trying hard to decide what board to ride. Then, all of a sudden there is some yelling in thick NY or LI accents;

“Motha-blankety-blank! MUTHA-A-A-BLANK!! CALL ME FAT MUTHA BLANKETY BLANK!?!?!”

And then the other voice yelling back, “Yeah you fat %$^&!”

Then they’re both on the ground. Two bald-grey old men rolling around in the nearly empty Dirt Lot at 7am. And one of them is for sure, a bellowing heifer of a man. The ‘MUTHA-BLANKETY-BLANK’ guy must weigh in at a minimum of 245lbs, and his pork-barrel gut sticks out of his t-shirt and clothes like a pregnant women’s belly pulling 9 months to the day. Not a pretty sight. I’m wondering if I should step in but I see quickly that they can both handle themselves and that they know each other and then two friends of theirs show up and break it up anyway… Besides, they’re both waay bigger than me…

Ditch, the heaviest spot in Long Island?! Has it come to this? Ridiculous wankerism being fought over not even the waves? To what deepest low have we now sunk to as a subculture? Oh the shame of it…

Let’s just go surfing to have fun again!! That’s the whole point of it all anyway. To go have fun delving into nature’s watery folds and to feel and experience, the ‘glissante divine’ of it. The cool-glide feeling of the briny saltwaterness, flowing over our rails and cutting in deep with our fins. That’s it!! The whole point of surfing is to have fun, in the weightlessness, the effortless glide, or the g’s of the turns, or of the style of execution of it.

Pure aqueous joy…

Anyway, the day turns out to be fun in the end. Every 5, 10, or 15 minutes or so there is a solid head high peeling left that, although a bit on the slow side, is long and fun and bending all the way in, to the little old beach. There is something to be said for length of ride alone sometimes I guess, even when snappiness and pockets are not a regular occurrence.

Anyway, 2-3 hrs of semi-regular head-high sets and peeling slow backside lefts are still fun, and even though I was on a board somewhat too thin and too short, I had fun just riding drop knee all the way to the beach nonetheless…

After a few hours, it seemed to be slowing down a bit, so I decided to get out of the water and maybe head back home. I caught one very long drop knee ride all the way from the left end of Railers Beach to the inside right section on the beach nearly one parking lot over. I couldn’t imagine how fun it would have been on one of those 6.3 Christenson Submariner’s that Marko and Timmy sometimes ride…

Backside drive off a single fin alterna-shortboard with perfect rails-a-floating, nothing like that… Nothing…

Anyway, after 2-3 hrs, I was tired and so got back in my car and headed home; to East Quogue…

Fun day.

©2011 Lutha Leahy-Miller

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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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One Response to NOV 2011 DAWN PATROL

  1. Excellent write-up. I certainly appreciate this website.
    Keep it up!streetdirectory

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