I was really stoked for this all day! We haven’t had a post work swim since early November and I really missed them… something about the rush of diving into cold salt water is very therapeutic after a day in the office.

Right at 5 I hopped in the truck and drove down to Avila. As I came up onto Front Street I heard the boom of a really big wave and smiled instantly, this was going to be fun :) I parked and hurried down the stairs while getting a good look at the conditions… fairly calm, no wind, but really big waves coming through in tight groupings. As I put down my beach chair I saw Natalie walking back up from the water’s edge, she had gone down for a brief toe test and confirmed that yes it was in fact still cold. We’d both been checking out the water temps online that day and it spent most of it’s time at 50. Normally downtown Avila is a degree or two warmer than the buoy, but with all the post tsunami weirdness in the water that hasn’t really been the case. I don’t know what the real temperature was at the beach today, but I felt much colder than I did yesterday which is saying a lot!

Once I was ready to go we marched down to the water… excited but a little apprehensive about how cold it was going to be. Even the wet sand was cold on the feet… when the ocean surged up to mid thigh thanks to a good size wave I think a pretty healthy string of expletives came out of my mouth. While I was trying to get my body to acclimate we watched a set of really big waves come it. They were steep, deep green and clean. Natalie took off first to try and get out. Some waves she managed to get through unscathed, others repositioned her a little behind where she started from. I knew I needed to hurry up and do the same so as to not leave her stranded while I tried to get comfortable so in a break between sets I ran up a little deeper into the water and waited to have the first wave of the next set kinda force the issue. I dove through it and came out gasping for some air… whooo that was cold! But at least now I could get down to swimming and try to catch up.

I swam up the face of a wave or two and found myself at the bottom of one of them. Once I got out of the waves the water never stopped rolling in a major way, the bottom just ceased to be shallow enough to break a wave. I swam out to a spot parallel with the buoy line to meet back up with Natalie and figure out where we were going. I’d lose sight of her, along with most of the pier, between swells. Once I caught up I was breathing a little funny but holding on. She was a total trooper and doing really well, even in a wetsuit this would be a cold ass swim! We decided to swim to the end of the pier and then decide where to once we got there.

We swam side by side down the pier and we had a couple small groups of spectators up on the pier wondering what was wrong with us that we’d do this on purpose… I saw one lady taking pictures… I wonder how many people have vacation pictures of me at home :) On the way down you literally felt like you were swimming uphill. The swells were so gnarly it felt like it took 4 or 5 strokes to get to the other side of them!

At the tip of the pier we took a break and soaked in the view while trying to ignore the water temperature. Looking down the pier you could really see the amplitude of the swells moving towards the beach. We’re talking like 10 feet of play from top to bottom. Once we got our fill of the view it was time to decide where to go… I felt cold, ok, but marginal enough that I didn’t think it’d be a good idea to try and go long so we swam back down the length of the other side of the pier.

We went with the rise and fall of the ocean down past the buoys and then slowed it up looking for where the waves were going to start breaking on us. By the time I got some sand under my toes I didn't actually want to get out. We messed around in the surf for a while trying to surf down a wave or two. Neither of us was particularly successful today, I think they were a little too big to paddle into without some fins. I got close on one but couldn't quite sprint over the top into the right spot.

Moving forward with this year I’m hoping to beef up the weekday swim schedule a bit. It was pretty popular last year when it was just Wednesdays, we’ll see if we can fill in some bonus days this time around. My not so secret goal is to have someone to swim in the ocean with everyday… that wouldn’t suck :) Anyways… I’ll be in the pool tomorrow but back in the ocean on Wednesday!

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