Tag Archives: winter

Bone cold

December chill

Winter blew in. Her cold air meeting with the Gulf’s warmth, forming fog in protest. It sends a chill down into our bones. We walk with bare feet on sand so cold. Wetsuits are stretched on and they still don’t keep out the icy waters. You wade out gradually, feet numbing, cold water seeping into the seams. Your body warms the salty sea trapped between neoprene and skin….for a bit. It is not really the cold that brings a surfer in, shivering. Okay, well, technically it is, but what truly brings us in is the numbness. Bone chilling numbness…when you can’t feel your hands, your face or your feet.

The waves are good so we stay out as long as possible; huddling down into the icy water to escape the wind and keep warm. We paddle to get the feeling back into our hands and have regret when it does; pain flashing. Finally, even with a nice set rolling in, there is a realization that the point of being “cold” has passed. The body is now frozen. You catch the next wave and ride it to the shore.

Running up the beach on ghost feet and reaching back with stone hands to try and grasp the zipper to undo a wetsuit is comical. Fingers are defiant to the grasp signal coming from the brain; they feel like chunks of wood. At the car the heater can not be turned on fast enough (if you can move your fingers to do it), and the struggle to remove a skin tight wetsuit, without the use of fingers, begins. When the shivering starts, you might as well give up.

Once the blood runs warm in your limbs again, you get that winter surfers glow…..flushed cheeks, salty skin, and hands that are a bit icy to the touch for hours. It makes a warm cup of anything that much tastier. After you are warm, you don’t regret it at all (emphasis on AFTER). You remember fun waves that were good enough to challenge you to get outside your comfort zone.

My threshold for cold is when the air temps dip below 50 and the water temp below 60. And the only way I will tolerate that is if the sun is out and shining bright. I am aware it is not really cold by some standards. I have surfed in much colder conditions, but I can’t say I liked it. I hate to admit it, but I am a fair weather surfer. There, I said it. I just can’t get out in the really cold stuff and enjoy myself. In my head, surfing should not be a sufferfest.

Today the water temperature is 58.8 degrees and the air hovers at 43. It is raining off and on. No sun at all. A cold wind is blowing.

We are home, warm and dry; dreaming of warmer days to come.

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Winter beach

A cold front marched through and cooled things off last weekend and instead of snuggling in the house we loaded up to go surfing. The temperature was not too bad, maybe in the 60’s? But with the water temp down into the 60’s combined with the wind, well, it was chilly.

I went out surfing and then spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get warm. The back of the truck made for a great wind break.

Warming up

When the fog rolled in, the boys got a fire started. A friend brought some yummy chili and after hours of surfing for the kids, it sure hit the spot. We also brought stuff to make s’mores.

Fire and 'smores

Here I am back in clothes and still feeling brrrrr. Once I get cold, I pretty much stay cold and it is pretty hard for me to warm back up. Huddling next to Bill helped…..oh, and the fire too.

Beach couple

The best part of the day was being with good friends. Friends who share like interests are worth more than gold.

Friends

I don’t think s’mores could ever taste better after having them over a campfire on a winter beach. Sand and all. The two girls spent the entire afternoon surfing and must have eaten 10 ‘smokes each in an effort to replenish the 10,000 calories they must have burnt surfing and shivering. I have no idea where they get the energy from. *cough*marshmallows*cough

Making 'smores and keeping warm.
Making ‘smores and keeping warm.

North winds are marching through and beach days will be fewer in the coming months. Cozy days at home will be the norm for January and Febuary but there will still be days here and there to freeze our butts off enjoy the beach and a cold surf on a sunny day.

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She was initiated into one crazy club

The first real cold front has arrived, and with it we pulled out wetsuits. I take Mia and her friend surfing after school once or twice each week. We went yesterday and not only was the air temp around 58F and the water about 70F, but it was also raining and no sun at all. With the air so cold, the water felt like bath water, so the surfing was fine……it was the getting out that was freezing! Chattering teeth, blue lips and fumbling fingers that were too cold to work on wetsuit zippers and such. Brrrrr. Thank goodness for heaters and warm sheepskin UGG’s to slip our feet into.

There will be more warm days to come, so I dont think wetsuits are it from here on out, but yesterday they were certainly in order.

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Don’t let that smile fool you. She wanted nothing to do with having her picture taken. All she was thinking of was the heater in the car. Her little legs were mottled blue and she could not stop laughing. It was her first cold front surf and in spite of the sufferfest that getting out of the water was, she had a blast surfing. We were laughing and laughing because my fingers would not work to snap the picture. She stomped her frozen foot and said “OMG Mom, just take the picture already. I’m frozen!!” After numerous tries and threatened mutiny from the little surfer girl, I finally got a picture.

I just had to have a picture because there is something magical and inclusive that a day like yesterday brings. There are not many people who will get out in the ocean on a day like that. Only a soul surfer will put up with that kind of discomfort to catch a wave. It’s like she became part of the tribe yesterday afternoon. I am so grateful to have been there to share it with her. As much as taking that picture aggravated her, one day she will see it and remember that afternoon at the cold beach.

And I would bet my life that she smiles and remembers that feeling. That stoke to be a part of something so special. That surfing life.

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