Redwood Stringer #5: Summer at Midmorning

Redwood Stringer #5: Summer at Midmorning

Redwood Stringer #5: Summer at Midmorning
by Tom Mahony

Midmorning we trudge down to the beach and weave through hordes of tourists loitering on the sand. The sky is overcast, the air muggy. Last night we partied too late at our buddy Mick’s house. We’re torn up this morning.

The surf is meager and packed with kooks. The conditions suck, yet we find ourselves quietly slipping into our wetsuits.

We paddle out. Sort of. The waves are so small we essentially walk to the lineup. A crumbler arrives and ten people thrash for it. We laugh at the absurdity. We share the next wave with a dozen people. There’s nowhere to go but straight. We kick out and linger underwater. It washes away some of the funk.

That’s the only reason we’re out here. Despite the abhorrent conditions we must surf. It’s our only hope of regaining some energy. Some sense of worth.

We compare notes about last night. Mick was in rare form. Everyone was. We seem to recall nude women and an oddly violent pillow fight and some weird dude with a banjo. It’s all a blur.

As we float in the lineup we watch several women leave Mick’s house and embark on the Walk of Shame down the boardwalk: high heels and glittery cocktail dresses and bed-hair wildly out of place among the sweaty tourists. As the women disappear down the boardwalk, the banjo guy exits the house and stumbles down the beach.

So we didn’t imagine him after all.

We turn to the sea and hope for something good to ride, perhaps the first pulse of impending swell or a once-a-day rogue set.

It never comes. We surf the miserable crap just long enough to catch our five-wave quota.

On the last wave we trim along the face, too lazy to turn. We just stand and glide and feel the water beneath our feet and the breeze on our faces and the summer sun beating through the overcast.

We step onto the sand and walk up the beach toward home, ready to face the day.

Tom Mahony is a biological consultant in central California with an M.S. degree from Humboldt State University. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Surfer Magazine and dozens of other online and print publications. His short fiction collection, Slow Entropy, has recently been published as an ebook by Thumbscrews Press: His novel, Imperfect Solitude, will be released on December 1, 2010 by Casperian Press. He is looking for a publisher for several novels. Tom is also the author of the twitter story, Dead Glass, which was featured on SurfPulse’s twitter feed. Visit him at

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