Twenty and Ten is Ten

Surfing with snow on the sand is pretty rare in these parts. If we're lucky, clouds will accumulate during December and litter the ground with cold little crystals, leaving the city of Seattle and surrounding suburbs frozen for a few days. Snow being such an odd occurrence, city officials and citizens alike are wholly unaware of what to do when the ground is white and the temperature remains a few degrees below freezing. Panic ensues. Car accidents everywhere. People slipping in the middle of the street. There's a run on milk and canned goods at every store in Seattle. People stay inside Starbucks, dreading the commute back to their homes, offices or apartments. It's silly. And so Karissa and I escape. Driving west at the first signs of a freeze. Better to be where there are waves than trapped inside some coffee conglomerate, waiting for it to warm up.

Honestly, though, we weren't sure what to expect this weekend. Cold, yes, but snow on the ground and ice on all the roads?! Shit. We fled on Friday, riding a six something ferry across the Sound. We stayed the night near Port Angeles - a rather cold night I might add - before continuing our search for surf first thing on Saturday. The roads were alright. Icy at times, some snow on the shoulder, but once we rolled onto the reservation the conditions became increasingly worse. Side street were now sheets of ice, and the long gravel road out to the end was covered in a light layer of ice and snow itself. We took our time. Fargo, being but one wheel drive, would not easily escape the ice, if we so happened to get stuck. But alas, we arrived alright. And after surveying the situation, we decided we'd better surf while there was still some sun in the sky.

Cold? Yes. But bearable. With our wool-lined Patagonia wetsuits, lobster claws and 7mm booties, the water was not what we were worried about. It was the offshore wind, blowing anywhere from five to fifteen mph at times. Cold across your face, a frozen, gives-no-fucks kinda cold. I surfed first while Karissa stayed ashore to take a few photos. It didn't last long, though. I was outta the water within the hour, shaking and mumbling my way back to the van. Karissa paddled out while I was taking what may have been the longest shower of my life. I did, however, get back to the beach in time to take a few photos myself. Waves? They were alright. Small, but clean. With offshore wind and sets separated by minutes instead of seconds. That night Karissa cooked on our camp stove and we sat inside the van and drank beer and consumed copious amounts of chili with cheddar on top. The sun set shortly before five, and by six we had both climbed into bed, trying desperately to stay warm. The temperature that night was said to be sixteen.

Photos come courtesy of Karissa_Would.

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