Surfing at Otter Rock

Jane Time

Billy here. Within hours of reaching Portland, we were invited to go surfing with our old “gang” out at Otter Rock. We stayed the night down an OHV road in the woods and went surfing two days in a row in absolutely glorious weather. The last couple of years, having lived mostly full time in the Southwest, our surf expeditions have been relegated to just a couple of weeks out of the year during a road trip. So every summer I forget how much I’ve wound up tightly the neuroses of civilization around me until I get back into the water. The first few sessions out I realized just how anxious I’ve been in life, my heart was tight and my breath was short. I felt like I was trying too hard. By the time I was almost too tired to surf I was finally letting go and catching waves. All the words and attempts to be in control mean absolutely nothing. A feeling of space and freedom opens up. I laughed and cried at the same time as the waves pummeled me and I was only as big as a human again. One of billions of little animals running around on a planet around a common star. There is something about surfing that involves your body so completely in letting go, the mind protests, but in order to be on the ocean with any kind of grace, it has to relinquish control. Nature is too big, the ocean too big to fit into a brain. The ego caves and all is left is just being there on the board and the water moving, curling, pulling, crashing. I close my eyes now and I feel the breakers crashing over me. There is nothing else in the world when you are on the water. All the petty things in life, the dramas, the anxieties, they are pounded into the sand and you are left bare, windburned and serene.

The following photographs courtesy of our surf team photographer, Maren Fulton!  Thanks!

Spence here: We pushed on to Portland and then to the coast. I was tired, but just couldn’t fathom missing any more opportunities to get out there on that “daisy” board (the green surfboard we have looks like the side of the “Mystery Machine”).  The first time out in the ocean after a year always amazes me. I really feel like a little kid. The cold, creeping up through my wet suit, (which does feel like a super hero outfit) as I enter the water, the sand ripples underneath the arches of my feet, the random wonderful strangeness floating by and then the “big one” that pulls me up and back and down and through. The burning of salt water on my lips and in my eyes brings me back into focus and the next wave I properly duck dive. I feel pure joy, pure elation, pure optimism for surfers to catch the wave they’re going for and pure frustration when I miss my wave–pure exhaustion after 4-6 hours in the water. Surfing really is the best exercise and the best reason to eat at Rogue Brewery afterward. I missed surfing but I missed our friends the most. Conversations with them pick up right where they left off, as if the last time we hung out was last Saturday, instead of last year. Thanks friends! Thanks for stashing our gear all year! Thanks for the journey, the food, the beers and best of all, the company!

Of all the surf spots on the Oregon coast, so far my favorite is Otter Rock near Devil’s Punchbowl, north of Newport. The beach is large, with nice breaks throughout the day and plenty of room for everyone–SUP riders, longboarders, bodyboarders, kayakers and groms. We ended up staying late on the beach this trip and meeting more friends. We had a BBQ and wine in a bag, cheap beer, a nice fire and a lot of laughs. I went to sleep with plenty of sand in my sleeping bag, yet, no “surf butt”. Today was a good day.

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