Wandering Thoughts

May 8, 2010


Filed under: Going Places,Surfing — terence @ 7:37 pm

I was camped by the coast and keen on surfing alone. The plan was to get up pre-dawn and paddle out in the twilight. I set my alarm for six: early enough, I thought, and drifted into uncomfortable sleep.

I woke up in the light. No alarm, just light. I must have slept in. Or maybe dawn was earlier than I thought? I was bone tired and hazy, but – loyal to my plan – I pulled on my clothes in a hurry, joints protesting the contortions, and crawled out of the tent. Outside, where it wasn’t dawn at all. Instead the moon hung in the sky. A mirror for the sun, full enough and bright enough to have the campground lit up. I could see the trees and cars and tents around me. Shaking my head I climbed back into bed.

Although I didn’t last weekend, there have been times, camped at the coast, where I’ve sat in the moonlight watching the waves. Listening to the crack and swash and imagining myself riding on silvered water.

Like almost everything about the sport, night surfing is easier to imagine than to do. It’s cold in the middle of the night. And the sea is black proper. Sharky and eerie. And so, although I’ve thought about it a lot, I’ve only ever tried night surfing once, in small glassy waves at Freshwater. Late summer in Sydney, with a friend to accompany me, and the vague thought that night surfing had to be safer in a bay.

The moon that night was bright but not quite enough. Waves arrived unannounced and the half-light skewed perception. Which made it pretty hard to surf. All the more so in the short sharp beach break waves. Still, in between spills we got rides, enough to be happy. And in between rides we marveled at the patterns the moonlight made in the shallows, white ripples, refracted by the sea, crisscrossing the sand. And just that once, as we sat waiting for waves we were free not to about the dreaded crowds of the northern beaches. At one point I managed to duck my head into a little barrel, watching it spin, without colour, only light.

Like everything else about surfing, riding waves in the moonlight is difficult. Difficult, but on that one night at least – worth it.



  1. Literally around the world… I have always wanted to surf New Zealand. Number one on my “wander lust” list. Bet you can’t say the same for New Jersey! We do have some fun swells here. If you are ever in the area holla and the crew will make sure you get a few.

    Great blog.


    Comment by Howell — May 9, 2010 @ 4:11 am

  2. Thanks Howell. Funnily enough I’ve surfed in Jersey a couple of times and if I could go back to S andy H ook and get it on – well that would be fairly high on my list.

    Comment by terence — May 9, 2010 @ 6:52 am

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