I get the call from my friend Steve and I am on my way. Surfs up, man! You’ve got to get over here TODAY!!
It’s January 1980 and I am totally stoked to get the call. I’ve loaded the surfboard on the top of the car. I pick up my girlfriend, Kathie, to come watch me ride the big waves. I have my new wetsuit I got for Christmas and I know that this is going to be epic.
As the three of us crest the dunes we can see the tops of the waves. Not a common sight in Cocoa Beach. The wind pushing at our backs as we shuffle down the hills of sand making the waves form the cherished tube out of the huge walls of water. Yes, this will be epic.
Kathie with her towel in hand to layout in the cool January air, thankfully the sun is bright and high on this cool and beautiful cloudless day. Steve and I, wetsuits on, boards under our arms, rush the shore and hit the water at full speed.
Then the water hits back. The stabbing pain of a thousand pins piercing my face and hands. I’ve never felt water that cold. How can the water be in motion? It should be frozen solid. It takes my breath away.
Determined I paddle out to the high surf. Wave after wave pounds against me. Diving under the onslaught of walls of water whose purpose in life seems to be to end me. After half an hour of dodging, weaving and digging my arms in the cold water to make it out past the break line. I make it.
Exhausted and excited to catch the perfect storm of wind and waves, I sit to catch my breath.
All my anticipation of the day was met. Dropping into the perfect wave. The curl of wave hitting my shoulder and eventually shallowing me in its powerful embrace, each wave seemed better than the last. It was cold and windy yet the perfect day.
As I come into shore on the final wave I notice that Kathie is nowhere to be seen. I also notice that on the sand are a group of pasty white children running between the sand and the water.
I ask the kids if they had seen a blonde girl laying on the sand near where they were playing. They point to the other side of the dunes. “We think she is sitting in a car.”, they say
As they run to the water, bathing suits on and nothing else on, I say to them “That water sure is cold isn’t it?” They reply, “This is what the water feels like in Canada during the summer!” Looking at me with wonder as I stand on the shore in my wetsuit starting to shiver.
As I approach the car, I see Kathie has it running. As Steve and I take off our wet suits and strap the boards back on the car, I open the door and feel the heat is on full blast. “Geez, it’s cold out there. I don’t know how you stayed in the water that long.”, she says.
I laugh saying “Those kids think it’s just as good as a Canadian summer.”
While the three of us are freezing those kids were flocking in the “summer” sun. It’s all in your perspective.
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