That’s right, Outdoor Pursuits went surfing again. We had so much fun last year we had to. If you missed it I’m sorry to inform you but… this year was twice as good as last!
Day One, not much to mention here, lots of driving, boiled peanuts and bluegrass. Enough said on that, though we did make excellent time on the road. Good job, Boss-man.
Day Two, now here’s where it gets exciting. We wake up in Tomoka State Park to find blue skies and sunshine. Everyone is super pumped to head to the beach. We drive down to New Smyrna, pick up our boards and wetsuits from the Scott Clan and head to the inlet. Now, I don’t know why but it always seems on our first day the waves are epic. Chest to head high clean surf, 70-degree air and 68-degree water; it was pumping.
This trip we had a mixed crew of experience. While the new crew got their beach and surf safety lessons, last year’s crew got wet. Right off the bat, last year’s crew was in the mix again... getting worked. The waves were super fun A frames (breaking both right and left with a peak in the middle). It didn’t take long for the crew to settle in and get some rides, and not just standing but really getting some time on the wave.
After an hour or two in the surf, maybe longer, ha-ha, the first crew gave up their boards for their comrades anxiously waiting on the beach. The new crew hit the water and in no time at all were standing and getting rides. The waves were so good it was hard not to get a great ride. We paddled until our arms just about fell off and called it. We packed up the trailer and drove back to camp for some food and sleep because tomorrow was looking really good on the surf radar and we wanted more.
Day Three, we woke early again but moved a little slower, cramped muscles and a restless night from dreams about waves and loud neighbors. Our neighbors in the next camping site thought the bathroom was a great place to hang out and sing camp songs. Imagine 20 dudes in a shower room singing at the top of their lungs 100 feet from your campsite; rather funny now, but not great then. Let’s just say the law got laid down the next morning and we had quiet evenings from then on. After some Dunkin’ Donuts we headed to the inlet again for some more waves. Once again the waves were awesome, slightly smaller than the previous day but just as good conditions. In New Smyrna you can drive on the beach but with a van and trailer it’s just asking for trouble, so instead we parked in the inlet’s dune park area. There is a boardwalk that connects the park to the beach. It is a beautiful walk through New Smyrna’s dunes area, all sorts of trees and creatures to look at while you walk, with a lighthouse in the background. It’s rather a decent walk, and many people walk and run on the boardwalk.
After deciding which peak (sandbar in the water) we will try today, we suit up and get wet. Just a beautiful day of waves and we broke out the bocce ball set for those chillin’ in the sun. We decide this evening we’ll head to the famous fish camp JB’s for some seafood. Raw oysters, blackened gator and grouper sandwiches and the best, and I mean the best, key lime pie. All while we sit and watch the sun drop over Mosquito Lagoon. If you ever get the chance, check it out!
Day Four, we get a little later start today; we’re all worked: sunburned, sore and loving it. We had a little trouble with our trailer locks (aka someone lost the keys) so we had to purchase new ones. We get some DD’s and on to the beach. Rock-paper-scissors would have been the gentlemen’s way of sorting out who carried the heavy long board all the way down the boardwalk but we left it for the sucker who didn’t grab a lighter board fast enough.
The wind started blowing offshore today really hard, still fun waves but slightly harder to get into with the wind blowing against you. Beautiful to watch the spray come off the waves and soak you as you paddle for them. Another really cool element today was dolphins. They were everywhere in the water jumping out of the waves and riding them.
We surfed till the sun went down. It was stunning. The wind calmed and the sky was gorgeous. Back at camp we ate some grub and headed to the volleyball court for some nighttime games (headlamps and a glowing ball).
Day Five, hmm, let’s see, what did we do today… ah yes, back to the inlet for more waves, ha-ha. The wind was really beating on the waves all night. We drove down A1A watching the surf in South Daytona and it looked flat but fear not, New Smyrna is always good.
We stopped at New York Bagel Deli and got a really good breakfast. They have a food challenge called the Big Nash named after a professional wrestler who lives in the area. The sandwich is ridiculous: eggs, bacon, steak, peppers, onions, cheese on a hero bun that covers a plate. No way, I say. I want to catch some waves. Wait, what was that? It wins you a free hat?! Oh yeah, that was a mistake. The rest of the day I felt like Big Nash had me in a chokehold but my boy JB is representing with a Hat out in Cali, Smear This!
We get to the inlet and as usual a super fun wave. Everywhere else was flat except the inlet’s main peak. It’s like magic; I don’t know how it does it but it always delivers. We surfed until sunset again.
Day Six, we wake up to watch the sunrise in Ormond Beach. It was a little bit cold this morning. There was a cold front on the way, cold temps but it would improve the surf. Nobody jumped in the water; it was cold and hard to tell what the surf looked like. We watched the sun come up and got some great photos. Afterward we walked across the street to Alfie’s and got some breakfast.
When we walked back across the street, a little wave had picked up with the tide. I had a blast on this wave. It was about waist to stomach high and really fast on the inside. Needless to say, I took a fair few on the “dome” but it was so much fun.
As the tide changed, we decided to change pace and revisit Pirates Cove for some mini golf. Jake Brown took the championship this year beating out some stiff competition by a stroke -- well done, sir.
Off to Heavenly Café for some amazing smoothies (coffee smoothies anyone?) and head to the inlet for another sunset session. The dolphins were going wild in the waves. It’s a real privilege to share the water with such amazing creatures.
Day Seven, the cold front moved in overnight and it was cold when we woke. We drove to the beach and the wind was howling. The waves were at least head high, if not a couple feet overhead. The first bunch jumped in and started paddling to get to the outside break, which apparently they thought was in the middle of the ocean …J The drift was quite heavy today and they drifted a good half mile down the beach in about twenty minutes. They caught a few good rides and proceeded to freeze on the beach; it was cold, fortyish degrees with twenty mile an hour wind -- just bitter in a wetsuit.
The first crew changed clothes and decided that was enough. We sat huddled for a bit waiting for it to get warm and the waves to improve. The waves got super good in the early afternoon. They started coming in on the main peak -- clean, long rights about two-foot overhead and the wind calmed a little. It was still very cold and despite my best efforts I could only manage about two hours in the water. Like a popsicles I ran up the beach to change; I couldn’t take any more wind. We packed our gear up and said goodbye to the beach.
This year’s trip was fantastic. The waves were great, the weather was pleasant and the crew worked really well together. By the end of the week, everyone was riding waves and improving their skills, flat out having a blast. My thanks to all who were involved.
If you missed this trip it’s okay to be depressed, because it was awesome! But fear not, we’ve got more really great trips coming up. Keep your eyes peeled for the times and dates. Btw, for those on the trip -- you didn't have to cut me out like someone I use to know… gotcha!