The surf was big.

The tow-in event at Nelscott Reef in Lincoln City was in progress so that shot down any chance of surfing there. I had an outside line-up at PC that would be working with this amount of surf so my buddy, Big Mike and I went there.  

The sets were relentless with almost no lulls. Finally a small opening showed and we went for it.  Mike didn’t make it but I figured he’d try again. Three quarters of the way out, a set appeared and I scrambled to escape around the shoulder. That worked fine for the first two waves but the third one shifted left and planted me pretty good. Finally off the end of the Point, I paused to get my bearings.  

Sets were popping up like jack-o-lanterns all over the place but I was pretty confident about being far enough outside to be safe. Then something really big and dark loomed on the horizon. Naturally I just began to slowly paddle further outside as the rapidly growing set moved in. Pretty soon I was paddling hard and unwanted thoughts like … well, we really hadn’t checked the surf for very long, maybe there were some giant sets. The set was still a half dozen swells outside but Haystack Rock was closer to me than the shore was and the buoy was dinging very loudly, meaning it wasn’t far away.

"Holy Shit!

A cold chill ran down my spine when I realized I was paddling for dear life.

"Wait a minute!

I don’t need to be thinking like this, I’m okay. But what if I get caught inside way the hell out here, what if my leash breaks, what if…no, stop it, just paddle and be cool.

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The wave threatened all the way until I actually went over the top. It looked like it was going to break and did cap a little at the top but I was so far out to sea, the water so deep, I was fine. I took a deep breath and stock of my situation.  I had never had so many negative thoughts run through me like this before.  I looked in and saw Mike’s big red board still on the beach. There had not been any surfers in the parking lot even looking at the surf. I was all alone.  As they say in Hawaii … no more nobody, no more nothing. Screw this, I thought, I surf to surf again tomorrow, not like there is no tomorrow. So, very carefully, I paddled inside and caught a small wave straight to the beach.