It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of my best surf bro, Missed-It-Mike. I am thankful to have spent the majority of Sunday with him at the Chargers game. I have called him three times since to go surfing and I haven't heard back from him. I will always remember the good times, him bitching about his feet hurting in particular. Walking barefoot on gravel without drawing a reminiscent tear will be especially difficult.
I of course will be the last one to eulogize him, as the order goes from least to most important. In my run-throughs thus far, I've gotten most choked up bringing up when he used the Amazon link on this very blog to buy a $700 washing machine, netting me $28 in Amazon money in the process. I will remember the good times bro.
Mike leaves behind a wife, a son, and perhaps most tragically, a surf bro (for life, brah, never forget).
Obviously, I am dedicating this session to his memory.
I woke up and practically lunged for my phone, but Mike had once again failed to return my call. He was gone. I had a hard time getting out of bed with the grave thought of his entering his next phase.
I debated staying in bed, but pushed myself out the door at 7:40.
I half-heartedly checked the surf. MD's was not great, but the tears in my eyes made things a little blurry. I packed back into The Rad and considered going home to have a good cry session, but I knew Mike would have wanted me to soldier on, south, towards one of his favorite waves, NoTePads.
It was beautiful. It was as though Mike had flapped his angel wings and kicked up some swell, and somehow also stoked the offshores in the opposite direction, into their cherubic faces.
I knew the water/wind combo would lead to ice cream headaches, and for once I welcomed them, hoping their presence would dull my inner pain.
I watched two guys on too much foam, take turns going over the falls, as the winds seemed to catch their boards and delay their descent until the wave pounced on them.
The lefts to their south looked most appetizing. I figured with the N angle on this swell (WNW), I would be pushed right into their line of fire, so I paddled out straight out and got swept down slowly. I watched as two grinders spun about fifty yards south of me and hurried things along by paddling towards them.
Within five minutes, I caught my first wave. I am getting way better on my frontside barrels, I dropped down, set my line well, kept my weight on my front foot but got slightly pinched and a little too far behind the lip. I had a fleeting feeling of reaching daylight. My head and the wave ceiling said their hellos, but I pushed through for another half-second before being slammed into the trough.
Two minutes later, I had a look at a shoulder-high or so right and was able to tuck in to a pigdog barrel. On the descent, I thought briefly that my shoulder was going to run into the wave and either stall or pull me into its vortex. I narrowly avoided disaster and got my longest pigdog barrel in over a year. It isn't so long, however, that you can see what happens without constantly toggling the pause/play button in the footy...
The next wave I caught was a left and I smelled a barrel. I unfortunately set up a little too far away from the wall and received a lip to the head for my efforts. The lefts kept pinching and pinching hard; my guess being the swell direction wasn't working in their favor, benefiting mostly the rights.
The next wave was a twin to its immediate predecessor, just a bit bigger. The same result happened, except I got SLAMMED by it so hard it made my knees buckle. This sudden acceleration of force upon my body also caused my lower legs to somehow slam into one another, leaving me with an agonizing few seconds.
I caught a small right and tucked into it crab-grab, for old-time's sake. It closed out much more quickly than expected and I pulled through the back pretty violently in an attempt to get out of its grasp. I managed to go through just barely, then immediately detouring straight up into its spinning maw. This resulted in a tense but thankfully painless tumble over the falls.
I called it a day and realized it was the first surf session in a while in which I'd made every turn I'd attempted. I looked up to the sky and smiled.