May 23, 2019
We were driving at night and thus had already broken one of just two rules we made before crossing the southern border. It wasn’t really our fault. A long construction delay due to recent landslides held us up for over an hour. We passed white crosses on the winding downhill, marking those who’s brakes gave way or tequila got the best of them. I downshifted and peered into the dark shoulder in search of roaming cattle and other animals of the night. The pavement ended and 6 kms of dirt road followed. We passed bluff top camping spots with amazing views, but sightseeing wasn’t top on my priority list. I knew there would be a swell in the morning and I was dead set on waking up a stone’s throw to the peak. As we pulled into camp, the low rumble of waves below and dense layer of fog greeted us. Although our refrigerator was stock full of food we smuggled over the border, cans of sardines and crackers would be the delicacy of the night.
The waves reverberating off the cliff sounded bigger than the night before, giving me a quick jolt of adrenaline. As the white water rolled in, the pre-dawn light show cast a slew of purples and oranges across the water creating a surface of swirling tye dye. Equally as beautiful as the ocean’s technicolor dream coat was the chest high A frame just below our cliff top perch. A long right worked its way across the the sand bar as the left jacked up and collided with the rip running out along the north edge of the cove.
I should take a picture, brush my teeth, drink some water, eat some food.. screw it. I ripped into my board bag like a younger version of myself on Christmas. Quickly, I stuffed fins into my fresh 5’6” Bing Cypress. This moment was a culmination beginning back in New Hampshire 2 months before and I wasn’t about to wait for a tide swing or onshores to ruin the perfection below.
As the rip ushered me out passed mussel encrusted lava rock, a head high double up collided with the outward rip sending the face vertical. I surfaced from a duck dive and another wall of clear turquoise water shot skyward as it approached its final destination. I exited the rip quickly stroking by the aerated water still churning from the previous set. Another set worked its way down the outside of the cove. White water washed over the rocks refreshing the tide pools left stagnate by the lower tide.
My Cypress came onto plane and I watched the surface below me drop away. I pressed my body up. My feet found their place, an innate reaction from being here many times before. With my line drawn back towards land, an ominous feeling swept over me. As if ordered by Neptune himself I found myself swirling in a silent light show of white then black and white again. My feet found the sand and I pushed off regaining the surface with a renewed sense of respect that I had momentarily lost in my rush to glide. With a humbled ego and a knowing eye I sat patiently.
Redemption would come quickly and numerously throughout that morning with short jacking lefts depositing me back into the outward flowing rip. While the left would be the flavor of the morning there were plenty of long rights that would have me scampering back up the cobblestone beach.
As if the ocean knew best, the waves slowly faded giving my shoulders the break they were begging for. With the tide creeping in I retreated back to my cliff top home to fend off the onsetting dehydration and hunger. In this moment the weeks of driving and hours of preparation all seemed like a distant memory. I stood for a moment in the late morning sun letting the saltwater drip down my face looking back at old blue grateful for the constant lessons and joy.
For the first time in a long time we didn’t have a plan or project to work on. We had time and mental freedom. As the run of swell continued day after day we stayed put overlooking the lonely cove. We broke rule number one to get here, but I wasn’t about to break rule number two...
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