The Surf Check


The car dived down into the  lanes and found its way to the park up. The air was fresh and there was a scent of new greenery and early spring as I started my way down the footpath. I could hear the swell rearranging the shoreline even from half a mile distant. The boulders growlled as the swell rhythmically hit the unseen berm.My feet pricked as my senses took in the possibilities and I hastened onwards. I started to peer through the hedge which I knew full well did not hide the beach below because it was (and always has been  :Ed)  blocked by a slight rise. But you do this do n’t you even though you know you will not find what your looking for…spastic anticipation? Onwards over the style and down the slippery muddy path.

”If it is any good ,do I go in? Am I expected at home? Is there enough swell? Is the tide too high? Will my quad fish cope with the left? How long before dark?” I asked myself all these questions while my eyes tried to push down on the next hill that blocks the view of the break. All the answers are thrusted to the back of my  mind as my purpose to get to the look out at the shallow summit of the next grassy rise took complete control, just in the way that a dog is servant to it’s nose. I started to trot but resisted the urge to leap over the next style.

I  was  only 30 yards from the summit. It was then I felt the familiar but unwelcome twitch in my bowel. I rushed on. Why is it that the urge to evacuate is so strong when I run towards the surf? It’s something that I have suffered from since my earliest surfing days. I think it has something to do with the fight or flight instinct but I get it as  I flee towards the surf! An inverted syndrome?No matter.

I reached the rise slightly out of breath. There was no one in sight. Greeted by the vista framed by the valley and the break beyond, a sense of elevation took hold. The onshore wind was evident in the distant trees to the left and right and it swirled willo the wisp fashion around the summit. My focus followed the footpath that winds down the open field to the boulder strewn beach below and then out to the slate grey waters. A set moved into view as if it had been waiting behind the cliffs of the bay to make an entrance. The wave gathered on the reef to a really good size but at the last moment the on shore wind and backwash from the  berm , sends it sprawling in an untidy confusion of white water shoreward.

I stood and studied the scene for another ten minutes. The first set was bigger than the ones that followed. The wind spurted up the valley and gently slapped my face as the evening sun  warmed me in compensation. Deflated I turned and trudged back along the muddy path and thought of what might of been….time, tide… and wind always the merciless adjudicater. Minutes later the disappointment seeped out of the car doors and  was replaced by a haze of  optimism. Next time I’ll get there before the tide reaches the berm.