Christmas day in Byron Bay includes surfing. It just does. For me, that means either my beach (which is a usually quite dangerous beach that is always oddly gentle for christmas) or Wategos. This year, it was a double showing at Wategos - morning, then afternoon.
Beautiful, gorgeous, picturesque, lovely, ideal-beyond-belief Wategos is usually packed with people for christmas day, but this year it was raining so the crowds mostly stayed indoors, leaving the waves empty of that fair-weather crew. The morning waves were nothing much to talk about. They were lovely but slightly, well, meh. But the evening was different.
Izzy collected Jessie and I from our respective homes. We stacked our mals on the roof of her car, bid farewell to our snoozing, post-lunch families and drove into town. When we arrived, we were far from inspired by the small waves, which also seemed slightly busier than we had expected. But we were there, and we are frothers, so in we went.
At first there was a weird vibe in the water - a crew of drunk travellers was being kind of aggressive and a bit dangerous. They were taking over in ways that were weird and unnecessary. We considered leaving, but stuck it out, using our knowledge of and relationships to the break to pick off waves from the drunk folk. Eventually they went in, leaving it calmer and safe - me, Izzy, Jessie (and a delighted, smiling Tom, who is always a joy to share any surf with).
And then something happened. I'm not sure what - The wind dropped off? The tide changed? The swell improved? A combination of everything? - but suddenly our average waves became something special. Suddenly they were long, green, glassy, clean, fast and golden. Suddenly Jessie was zipping along, low in her body, crouched on her board, speeding in trim. We were paddling back out laughing and gasping at how fun it was. Suddenly Izzy was at the front of her board, stepping into a perfect 10. Feet together, knees soft, arms by her side, perched on the nose: technical, aesthetic, beautiful. To her delight, I was witness and cheerleader to her stoke, sharing it with her. Suddenly I was turning hard on waves I thought it not possible: flying along, water sparkling from the tail of my board, Izzy and Jess laughing and hooting. Suddenly I was filled with that feeling of connection - body, mind, time, place, water, air, movement all making perfect sense right then and there. That feeling of balance, presence, serenity, happiness, joy, sadness, luck and love. And I got to share that with my friends.
I shouted to Izzy and Jess as we all paddled back out together after getting consecutive waves, laughing and smiling;
This is officially an excellent surf!
Yew! The girls yelled back, This is amazing!!
We surfed together until 8 o'clock that night, until we were tired, until the waves had run themselves out. We giggled, laughed and squawked our way back to the car, re-stacking the boards and giving in to Izzy's offer of champagne and chocolate at her house. We popped the bottle and talked more about the perfect waves we had shared, until Izzy concluded,
I'm going to remember this surf for a long time.
We laughed again, finished the champagne, put on some tunes - Ella, Dusty, Frank, Ray, Diana - and (I) danced until we all began to ache and yawn!
I cannot begin to imagine a more perfect ending to any day, let alone christmas 2011, nor more perfect people to have shared it with.