Because I am moving to New Zealand.
I am moving to a place of cold water, black sand, short-board dominated, lefts. I am moving to a place where the sun sets into the sea! I am moving to a place where a short-legged spring suit is not going to get me through the winter. Dang, where a 3/2 isn't going to get me through the winter!
But in a way I'm kind of stoked because it's a good test. I know lots of people who have given up surfing when they have moved to colder climates. Really! And while that is fair enough, I don't want to be that person. So I'm taking it as a personal challenge to get out of bed and get into the water even thought nothing about that sounds reasonable, rational or sensible. But I really do love catching waves, so I will.
And so I was inspired by Toddy's post over on The Endless Bummer the other day about surfing in winter.
You easily psych yourself up to surf. You've got your six mil winter suit with those five mil gloves and those seven mil booties, you're practically praying for snow. The romantic ideal of being that guy just propels you into full on frigid surf froth. Especially when you're heading out from your cozy home in your cozy car, your suit quickly becoming a sweaty hot box as you hustle to the water's edge.
It's the water's edge that kills you.
You look out, feeling the proximity of that churning, ice-cream headache, face-stinging paddle and realize you've made a terrible miscalculation. But you blunder on, the pure shame forcing you forth into the nettle-like abyss of sub-40˚ water. After the sputtering lobster claw flailing torture, you heap yourself upon your board just that side of the lineup as that second ring of cold water hell focuses uncomfortably into view.
Or, I should say, out of it. This moment you realize just how hobbled you are in that coffin-like hood, peripheral vision blacked out completely. This is when you realize just how important hearing is to your whole wave catching mojo.
These foundational, guttural limitations dawn on you in such nauseating succession, you're sure you'll paddle in after your first take over the falls. It's all too much.Then a wave chooses you, dropping you in, and that bizarre, one of a kind insta-joy relief sets in.
You breathe, laugh a little. You were right all along.
Until you gotta get outta that suit.Winter in NY means even more rubber and enthusiasm for surfing than it will mean for me in NZ. I mean a 6 mil wetsuit is just beyond my comprehension and there is no snow to the place I am headed. But Toddy's stoke gives me comfort and even something to look forward to in my own cold water sessions.
Video via The Endless Bummer as well: