Ride the Wild Surf? Umm…not quite.

After a dismal winter surf-wise, northern New England has had a much better run of waves this spring. We’ve enjoyed a series of small swells every week-and-a-half or so, with the most recent impulse showing up over the past few days. It was, to be sure, small. I mean: really small. I’d call it knee- to thigh-high, with occasional waist-high sets. But here in New England, we takes what we gets…

This recent swell coincided with some spectacularly sunny weather and with ocean water that has warmed dramatically. One source put the sea temperature at 62; that seems a bit optimistic, but the water has definitely reached the mid- to high-50s. Throw in warm sunshine and light winds (before the afternoon sea breeze comes up) and it’s been really comfortable out in the surf. I was wearing a full-on winter wetsuit — 6- and 7-millimeter thickness — with hood, boots and mittens as recently as late April. I made the transition to my 4-millimeter suit with boots and thin gloves in early May. But for this past swell, I got down to my 3-millimeter suit with no gloves at all — and I was toasty.

I also made it out with my GoPro camera for the first time. I bought the camera for last summer’s sailing adventure on Polar Bear, but I’d been looking forward to trying it out IN the water rather than just near it. So on Wednesday, 23 May, I finally mounted the the GoPro to my 9’8″ longboard and paddled out for a morning session. And here’s what resulted:

What a blast! Riding the longboard is always such a joyous occasion. Something about the laid-back nature of cruising around on that canoe, casually catching pretty much any wave, and then walking the nose whenever possible always puts a smile on my face that is in stark contrast to the more aggro shortboard riding. I love riding my shortboard — it is very much my preferred method for surfing — but maybe it’s because I’m still (at 46 years of age) trying for somewhat high-performance surfing that I don’t chill out like I do on the longboard. Putting this new gadget into the mix — and being able to see the results — only added to the experience.

Whatever the reason, it was a successful first GoPro mission — right down to the strategically placed water droplet that appears for every wave. Seriously…could that thing have been any better placed?! No, I didn’t do that on purpose, though I do point out frequently that I have a good face for radio and always prefer to be BEHIND the camera. I’m not sure why that water drop was so persistent but I’ll see what I can do next time.

And there will be a next time. I had that much fun messing about on my longboard with a waterproof camera.

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