Surf Check

By Heather Hansman

April 6, 2015

Surf Check

November on the coast. Cracking cold and painfully clear. We cram 12 of us in a one-bed cabin on the Quileute reservation, not caring about personal space or what is whose. In the morning we're up as soon as the sun starts to slide its slow half-circle around the horizon. It feels like you can see to Japan if your eyelashes don't freeze shut first. We pour weak coffee, put on puffies, and scramble stiff-legged over the driftwood toward the break.

I'm a bad surfer because I'm not patient enough to watch the sets roll in, but the boys can stand forever, gauging the swell, watching spray flip up off the closeouts, noticing patterns. That spray is the same color as the rime of ice on the driftwood, the silver of refracted light.

Soon we'll shake blood back into our legs, wiggle into our wetsuits like seals, and gasp in the first winter-cold wave. Later we'll walk the curve of the beach, lips and hair still salty, clambering on the downed logs, dragging back driftwood for a fire. But now we pull our hoods tight and try to memorize the way the early morning waves build and crest.


Photo "Chasing the perfect wave" provided by Susanne Nilsson, under the Flickr creative commons license.

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