The campfire is the pulpit where the stuff of legends are told—surf stories of years past, like epic waves and surf sessions. The day at Cottons is one of our favorites.
It was a bright and early morning session after Halloween night. We hiked about a half hour down the beach to paddle out to the surf break called Cottons, south of San Clemente. The shore break was monstrous, crashing on the beach like thunder and shaking the ground.
I kept smelling beer and whiskey as I paddled out, and was confused. Was it my own breath, or was the smell coming from CJ, twenty yards ahead? Sometimes the late night campfire antics are still in our systems early mornings, i.e. booze. As we paddled out, we could see dolphins swimming through the chest- to head-high waves before they broke.
Neal’s permanent expression of stoke.
Neal says the best wave he ever saw me on was that day at Cottons. He was paddling back out and I caught a decent-sized wave and turned left. He said my eyes were as big as Frisbees as I dragged my back hand on the wave and let out a little high pitched, “Yeww!”
I think his eyes may have bigger than mine. When it comes to Neal and surfing, camping, drinking, or just about anything, he is always running on pure stoke. For all of us, though, it’s almost as much fun watching our buddies catch good waves as catching them ourselves.
That same day, Gunner caught his first waves ever. CJ and I were on party wave, Johnny Day shredded it up, and Gunner and I saw a sea turtle pop his head up in front of us!
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