Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Good Day

I think I was 21 years old. Morgan, Landon, and myself decided one afternoon to embark on a journey. I think we left San Luis around 9pm one night and arrived at Jalama to catch some shut eye before our clandestine entry into the legendary Bixby ranch. I distinctly remember the clasp of the flag clanging against the flagpole throughout the few sleepless hours... not that it mattered, an uncomfortable bed made on the asphalt, coupled with the anticipation of finding what our hopes were set on meant little by way of rest.

Around 3am we rolled up our sleeping bags, slung our packs around our backs and grabbed our boards. I brought my 6'4" single fin. Risky. If the waves were small I'd have been super bummed. Landon and Morgan brought their thrusters; wise choices, good all around boards. Never-the-less off we went under the stars. We followed the train tracks which run along the coast of both the Bixby and Hollister ranches. The anticipation reached a peak at this point as I became keenly aware that at any moment the notoriously fierce Bixby ranch hands could waylay us and we'd be faced with a legendary choice (either an encounter with the Sheriff or a broken board, or worse a cattle brand "BR" on the buttocks).

We continued for nearly 2 1/2 hours until the sun began to rise just as we began to reach Government Point. We quickly made our way for the bluffs to find cover. Somewhere in this process we were suprised by another 18 yr old kid name Landon Smith (the same as my friend Landon), who seemed to have crawled straight out of a hobbit hole with a surfboard. He showed us a more appropriate hiding/resting place. From about 6:30 until 7 we got a few moments of uneasy rest on a bed of iceplant.

Standing up and looking in front of us all we saw from the indicator of the point was... Nothing. It looked flat, no waves. But here we were, no where to go, no escaping until the cover of night. Might as well get wet I figured, but I did have the sinking feeling that we were going to get skunked, a monumental risk for nothing.

I suited up and paddled out with Landon, Morgan would join us a few minutes later. The current was pulling us around the point, and Landon was the first to catch a wave. He just disappeared, for at least 5 minutes. I was confused, what could possibly take so long.

Then it happened.

150 - 200 yards later I fell lazily off my board, legs burning. I had never experienced anything like that. And they just kept coming, wave after wave for 9 hours. We rode together 3-5 ft perfection almost completely alone. Turn after turn, cutback after cutback, the feeling of absolute joy began to pervade my body, deep, down into the marrow.

Near the end of the day a helicopter landed on the beach and two guys paddle out... A freaking helicopter! They scored when the waves began to reach their pinnacle of perfection 200 yards of hollow green beauty for the five of us to enjoy. They got to ride back home on a whirlybird, we had a 3 hour hike to look forward to, then a two hour drive.

When we reached the car I was completely exhausted, trying desperately to be a good friend and keep my eyes open and mouth moving for Morgan, who was driving. I simply couldn't. Thank you Morgan for staying awake so I could remember that day.

Landon, Morgan, myself, and perfect waves.

A good day.


anjuli paschall said...

i loved reading about this day. it made me feel like i was actually there with you. a day to never forget. love you!

the nibbling marmot said...

I just french pressed some coffee this morning and thought of you.
Nice to "hear" from you.