Been a weird early fall up in Northern California. Normally by now we're in the golden zone. All-day offshores, constant combo swells, warm water, still enough daylight to surf once work hours are over. We live for October up in these parts.
So far, it’s been pretty meh. It’s turning around this week, but only on the heels of a very meh to very bad summer. Tons of fog, lots of wind, very little swell.
Surf bad enough that there have been very few can't miss days. More often than not, it's been maintenance sessions, paddle out just to get wet sessions, surf just because that's all there is to do sessions. It hasn’t been flat, exactly, just uninspiring, opening the door to things more productive.
I know I've gone at least 10 days in a row without a surf at stretches. Parking lot talk this week, which thank the surf gods, has seen some of the first consistently fun surfable waves in months, has heard plenty of "I haven't surfed in a month," from people who would normally only say that if they'd been injured or something.
Obviously, places like Florida and Texas regularly deal with surfability droughts that last into the weeks, but up here in swell-lashed NorCal, that's pretty rare.
It's caused a whole lot of existential crises, lots of new hobby developments, lots of frustrated long drives to surf zones further south.
The time void is strange when you've built a life around surfing at certain points in the day, every day. 8:30 am, not in the ocean? My god, that's weird. Late afternoons without having to even bother to look at the fluttering of trees or flags, because they're whipping stiffly onshore and have been for weeks at a time—had been inconceivable. What to do with all this extra time?
It's also got me wondering: how long can most surfers go without surfing regularly before suffering some kind of mental collapse? Some kind of grand re-thinking of the point of all of this.
Can you go a week? Two weeks? A month? My god, two months?
What's the longest you've gone without surfing, not due to some kind of injury?
If you can handle big breaks in surfing, what's your strategy to deal with it? The performance loss, the mental restlessness, the fading tan.
Asking for a friend. Lots of them, actually.