When in Greenough Country . . . Ride Your Mat!!
I've been to Rincon on two occasions, both of which were to surf the Rincon Invitational. Last year, my first time there, we all got skunked. The waves were tiny, so I had no idea what all of the fuss about Rincon was about.
Color me initiated into the fold. I was at the Queen of the Coast, unafraid to curtsy or do whatever else was required to show my respect. What I saw there yesterday was a thing of beauty.
I'd tried to follow the forecasts and reports for a few days prior to the event, trying to decide which board to take. In the end, I decided the 8'0" Almond would be the only board I'd take since my space was limited. Heading up there with two boards was not an option.
Heading up there with one board, two mats and fins is always an option.
So, we get up there and I immediately run into Paul Tomson, my good friend from my home break. I love him to death, both in and out of the water. Before I know it, Paul's brother walks up. He and I have met before. And before I knew it, I was greeted by Shaun Tomson with a kiss! Well, I thought, the day can't get any better than this. I mean, I've had a crush on that man since I was a teenager.
Who knew there was much more joy to come?
As I said last year, the Rincon Invitational is a team-based event. The goal is to get as many people as possible, one one team, to share waves. That's a wonderful concept in knee high waves. In head high waves? Not so much. The beach was not closed to other surfers either, so it was a bit crowded out there. The more I looked at the wave and the crowd, the less inclined I was to paddle out on a surfboard. My mind was envisioning what that wave would be like on a mat. I was torn though. I asked a few people what I should do.
"Ride your board."
"Take your board."
Eventually, I asked one of the locals, a guy we'd grabbed off the beach last year because our team didn't have enough people. He and I talked for a bit. Then I asked him whether I should ride the board or the mat.
He leaned in and spoke rather softly. Our faces were about an inch apart. We probably looked like we were sharing some intimate secret. I guess we were. He said something to the effect that if there was ever a day to experience the Rincon wave in all of its glory with relatively few people in the water, this was the day. I was certain he was going to say that this was my best chance to surf it on a good day on a board. And then he surprised me: "I would ride the mat."
He'd said what I wanted to hear in the way I wanted to hear it.
I can say more, but I'm unwilling to try to articulate something that defies description with the spoken or written word.
I will say that The Queen of the Coast loves the mat. I got the longest mat ride of my life on one of her waves. And when our heat was done, I gave up my rashguard, but opted to stay in the water. The inside waves further down the beach were calling to me. Although they were smaller than the main wave, their shape was just as good. When I saw my group get together on the beach for a picture, I didn't hesitate . . . to stay on my mat. I was quite content to be left out of the group shot if doing so allowed me more time with those waves. Eventually, though, I got called in to be a part of the picture. #$@#$%@! They were willing to wait for me. (sigh) So I got out and quickly jumped into the shot. By the time were were done, I realized I was cold and tired, and called it a day.
(This wave was so long that only a tiny snippet of it was filmed. Apparently, I went so far down the beach that it was pointless to keep shooting.)
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Life is better when you surf, whether it be on a surfboard or a mat or both.