THE BEACH RUN
THE SAME OLD STRETCH OF SAND SOMETIMES HAS A MAGICAL DAY … YOU’VE JUST GOT TO BE ON IT.
Running my local beach is exactly five kilometres there and back. I know, I’ve measured it a hundred times or thereabouts on my GPS watch. My routine is to go down to the beach when I have free time, and if the waves aren’t any good, and the tide is low I’ll go for a quick run. It’s flat at low tide, and the sand is nice and compact. It’s great for building up a little sweat and getting the old engine going.
Of course while running up the beach, with the sea to my right, I keep a constant eye on the waves, just in case there might be something of interest, a little sand bar popping up, or a rip forming or something. Sometimes a little deviation would interest me and I would stop and have a closer look while getting breath back, but a set would eventually come through and break outside in a long and slow close-out, as it tends to do on this straight beach. the only place where there are any sort of waves is in the corner by the rocks. The shoreline has created a fierce rip there, and waves peel towards that rip, otherwise it’s close-out city, all day every day.
A few days I arrived at the beach and parked at my usual spot. There were a few waves on the point, but nothing special. I dawdled around in the car, contemplating a surf, weighing up the options of work and deadlines and a fairly inconsistent line-up. There were definitely waves, but it wasn’t pumping by any means. ‘Maybe I should just go for a quick run,’ I thought absently, and looked down the beach.
At first I didn't register, what I was looking at. Then it came to me and I focused. Hard. A distance down the beach, a few hundred meters away, there were a bunch of people out. I did a quick head count. Ten.
‘Must be out of towners,’ I thought to myself, knowing full well that there are no waves down that part of the beach. A set came through. Double overhead. It lurched, and peeled left and right. The guy going left got absolutely barrelled, before the wave collapsed on his head just as he was about to sneak out. The guy going right surfed away from me so I couldn't see what he did, but he rode the wave through and kicked out into clear water.
Another set. Slightly further across from the last, but from my slightly elevated position in the car park I could see that it was most definitely a peak. Again, some fierce paddling, with one surfer going left and another going right. The left peeled perfectly, hollow but a little short. No barrel for the backhander who did a nice little under-the-lip hook.
It was quite a scene. My local close-out resembled a pop-up beach break peak of the kind that sometimes happens, quite miraculously I might add, at the beach breaks of Hossegor. I suited up, and headed down to surf this bank.
Once out there it was a little bit different to what I had expected. There were a few closeouts, but amongst them all there were a few of the most perfect, peeling peaks that I had ever seen in this part of the world, and good surfers on them were getting kegged. Someone who lived down that part of the beach had spotted the peaks in the early morning and had given a few friends the heads up. It wasn't crowded. Ten guys in a shifting, peaky line-up is a good number.
I got a couple, including one right hand bomb that tunnelled, but I got clipped on exit. It gave enough vision for a stellar memory, as the sun started setting.
Next morning I was there early. It was a Monday. There was no one about, and the beach was closing out endlessly, as per usual. It was as if nothing had happened, as if I had dreamed the whole thing up.
I decided to go for a run.