Surfing year round without a wetsuit?… Paradise!!
Picture this all of you hardcore winter surfers. It is a balmy -5 degrees and about -20 with the “wind chill,” we are in the midst of a Nor’Easter. Which for New England Surfers is a joyous occasion, mostly, because the swell is usually huge and not every other fool wants to be out there in the lineup. Usually just your other crazy friends!
Surfing on the seacoast of NH is actually quite fun and is like being in a club where you know most everyone. The stretch of ocean is roughly 13 miles with several beach and point breaks. Surfing year round is not for the faint of heart and means owning a quiver of wetsuits.
In the winter; here is how it goes down: You have to come to the beach ready to go… contort your body to squeeze into the 6.5.4 mil wetsuit with full hood on at home, 7 mil booties on at home and maybe save the 7 mil gloves for when you get there…or drive in those also! You walk across the crunching snow and ice down to the ocean and watch yourself here because falling at this point is zero fun. You start paddling out and realize you are about to get worked by a massive set. Three waves on the head…OMG instant icecream headache! Motha of God– it is time to move to Hawaii this is getting old!!
The sesh was good and the waves were big meaty and clean but now more fun… the ride home. If you are fortunate to live close like we did it isn’t so bad– ½ a mile to a hot shower. Getting out of a 6.5.4 is really not an easy task, and more cursing ensues.
Then if you are lucky you have a nice heated garage or basement to dry your said stinky ass wetsuit and booties (think hockey locker room smell…not good!). And we won’t mention what you do to stay warm in your wetsuit if you are out there for a few hours. 😉
Fast forward to life on Kauai in the winter. There are a few days where you might need a light ½ mil shirt or a little bit of neoprene, but never a full suit. You can surf year round in warm water and usually can catch waves at one end of the island or the other. The winter is when the Northshore goes off and is world class. But the longer you live here, the more your blood thins and even those cool winter breezes of 72 degrees feel chilly. I have heard people here say, “OMG, it’s freezing today.” No, not really, and you have no idea what surfing in 34 degree ocean water and -20 degree wind really feels like… now that’s freezing!
When people ask the popular question, “So why did you move to Kauai?” instead of giving my life story I am going to just start saying… No rubbah. Which in New England Boston accent speak means no wetsuits needed.