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The Wave Sliders journal

ENTRY # 027

Written By: Kevin Mirsky

Intro By: Jack Ventura

I'll keep the intro short and sweet today.

Kevin, also known as Single Fin Theory, has been one of my favorite artists for years. We connected through FARO and got to know each other better through these Wave Slider Journals. Enjoy one last dose of winter before the warmer waters take over.

All artwork is done by Kevin. You can find him on Instagram or through his website.

I’m not sure my wetsuit has been completely dry in at least a month.  It seems to be in a perpetual state of dampness, as is my towel, and the inside of my car. This morning when I left the house, it was cold, and everything was gray. Even the sun, which could not impose its will against the stubborn valley fog, had lost its yellow smile, and succumbed to winter.

I love surfing in winter. I have spent my life living and surfing in Northern California and early on, I embraced winter time here, as the best time to be a surfer. During the fall, the waves are usually at their best, the water is at its warmest, and the hot, dry days still stretch and carry on into the early evenings. Fall is easy, like a one night stand with a beautiful stranger, no strings attached.  Winter however, will only meet you halfway. Winter is a partner. You can have a meaningful relationship with winter.

A short drive west, away from the dark, rain shadow of the coastal mountains, the skies clear and the sun has found its footing, casting its warmth down to the beach, welcoming those brave enough to make their way to the coast. It is warmer here than just a mile or two inland. There are a few, joyful revelers on the beach, but it is not crowded. 

A creek, swollen by winter rains, has opened itself up to the ocean. Salmon and steelhead are pushing inward against the current and onward, upstream, into the valley. A maelstrom of sea birds frantically circle above. Elephant seals lay about, monoliths in the sand, stretching, yawning, sunning. In this part of the world we are never at the top of the food chain, but in winter, amidst the the great migrating whales, giant, mating pinnipeds, the dolphins, pelicans, cormorants, and even the wee snowy plovers, we are of the food chain. We intermingle and move about together, a grand parade of God’s seafaring creatures. Winter is alive.

In the parking lot, the sound of cold, hard surf boards being waxed is particularly loud. The guy next to me is using two hands to turn the key and unlock his car door. The usual, detailed pre-surf chatter among the crew is replaced with fragments and incomplete sentences. “Yew”, “Gett’em”, “Yeah man, out there!” It is cold and the days are short. Winter calls for brevity, and efficiency. Pulling on my wetsuit I notice steam rising from its dampness. The tips of my fingers are already numbing. The cold air, cold water, constrict our vision and draw the mind into focus. Out to sea, the horizon line is razor sharp.

Winter dictates how and where we will surf. Last week’s sandbar has been erased by a herculean winter swell. Two days of rain and the emergence of a new peak shows itself, breaking left and right in the mouth of the creek. The south end of the beach looks good, but a crab trap has lost its tether and there is a 20 foot telephone pole floating in the impact zone, castaways from the last big storm. The rest of the year, this beach isn’t even a surf spot but winter has used its might to move both sand and rock, forming bars where none existed before. In the water, the waves are perfect but they set up without the usual order or cadence afforded during the softer seasons of the year. In winter, the steady procession of low pressure systems in the gulf of Alaska, hurls swell on top of swell toward the coast. The waves hit the beaches as beautifully formed peaks, powerful and glassy. But they are restless and disorderly upon arrival. It’s often a game of cat and mouse and on bigger days, you can quickly feel lost in the melee. Winter will let you know where and when to turn, pull in, cut back…in this dance, winter takes the lead.

On the drive home, the windows are up, the heat is on and slowly, the body regains its temperature. The windows fog, and the suit you peed in begins to ripen. The atmosphere inside the car is monsoonal. It's a sweat lodge. Stoke, exhaustion, hunger, and return of circulation to both brain and body begin to tranquilize the central nervous system. The urgency of the rest of the world is muted. The rewind of the day’s rides melts as it replays in my mind.

Back at home the skies have cleared. It will be too cold tonight to dry my wet suit outside. After an unreasonably long shower, I pick my suit up and hang it on the shower door, to let it to drip dry over night. It will still be damp tomorrow, when I pull it back on.

- Kevin

What Kevin Is Stoked On!

In The Surf Community:

Right now I am stoked on those that are keeping the surf culture flame burning. 

It is easy to get a bit down on the surf scene given the homogenization, mass marketing and post-COVID population explosion of what is for so many of us, a deeply personal pursuit. 

However, underneath all of that, there are still individuals, with character and a sense of individualism, going against the grain, and keeping things interesting. When I see young people, in particular, not confined by the boundaries set forth by mainstream surf marketing, I get stoked.

In Thoughts And Quotes:

"I can't go on. I will go on."

- Samuel Beckett

In The Faro Workshop:

In the end, it's about the tribe. I think FARO gets that.


Follow Kevin on IG: @kevin_mirsky

Thanks for reading, ya'll! Look out for the next WAVE SLIDERS JOURNAL coming soon.

- Jack