I met Forrest at his place at 6:10 and we suited up. The air was numbingly cold.
On the way north from Forrest's Tamarack-area pad, we checked assorted Carlsbad beach breaks and we saw NOTHING. I've seen Lake Tahoe this big (and with more juice). The brunt of the swell was coming from the SSW so we figured Oceanside would be better.
It was, but not by much. We paused at Wisconsin Street and thought about doing the ultimate in no-go's: taking off a dry wetsuit. We decided to check Harbor and call it a day if we weren't convinced. I silently made mental plans as to what to do with the extra time I'd have from not surfing.
While going over the new-ish bridge southeast of Oceanside Harbor, we saw something that excited us. This is all relative, mind you. If we'd just had a week of mind-blowing surf, we wouldn't have slept in based on the forecast. Since we were groveling, any ripple became titillating.
We pulled in to the parking lot and decided to go for it based on just the two-wave set we saw from the road. After much ribbing from both Forrest and Missed-It Mike, I elected to leave my gloves in the car. This was in an effort to see if I really was being a pansy.
We got to the water and waded in. I made my best effort to not get my hands wet as the stiff offshore would make them shrink with frigidity. I succeeded until I made the difficult to decision to mount the board and begin paddling. Normally this time of year, the water will be comforting as it's warmer than the air. But with the strength and direction of the wind, today would be different.
We both made it out with dry hair and I caught two right away. I made sure I'd caught both before standing up, putting in an extra couple of strokes each time. All I accomplished is going straight for maybe ten yards before each one petered out (Man, it must suck to have the name Peter. First the phallic interpretation and then the verb).
I caught a right into the risen sun and was able to pump to keep pace with the wave, but not much else. Both times I faded off the wave in such a way so as to no get my face wet as it was still a virgin from the evaporative freezing effect of the offshores.
A nice set came, but I was out of position for it.
I sat for about twenty minutes and I started shivering a little. My hands were really cold and I consciously kept them underwater to shelter them from the wind.
A left came and I caught it late. I pumped twice, aware of its speed-killing fatness and attempted to lay into a cutback. I opened my shoulders back to the wash while twisting my gaze to meet it and aborted halfway through. What was meant to be a roundhouse cutty turned into a classic EddieP hack. Not bad, considering.
Within five minutes, another left came and I was in a great spot. I took off, pumped and met the oncoming section with a hit. Unfortunately, I blew it. I'm still not sure which bad habit of mine made me go underwater.
I hinted to Forrest that we should think about going in. He agreed and we walked into the gaping maw of the warmth-robbing offshores. As each second passed, my hands became number and more pained. When we got to Forrest's car, Forrest said he couldn't tie his board down as his hands were too cold. We huddled in the car (without touching, you pervs) to escape the wind for a few minutes. Forrest got out and we went back to his place with the faith-restoring space heater and hot shower.