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(11/14/98 -- Chris Perkins) Surfing at Essex


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We had a beautiful fall day for our Essex paddle. We put in at ERBA, paddled down the Essex River and out into the ocean. The tide was on the ebb so no problem. There was some very light surf coming in on Castle Island so we went over to take a look. Leon was the first to catch a wave, and soon we were all, um, hanging ten. Several of us had never done any surfing before (myself included), and the conditions were ideal for first-timers.

It was the first time I tried bracing into a breaking wave, and it worked like a charm. Roger got the highest score for shallow wet exits (3), but he didn't get a shut-out, with Leon and Bob H. both standing in water beside their boats. Bob said it was his first wet exit, but I doubt he was counting practice sessions.

After lunch on the beach, we crossed the Essex outlet and headed toward the Annisquam. However we found another surf spot and hung out there until it was time to head back. On the way back, I loaned my tow rig to Leon so he could tow Marjorie (Leon's got to get his workout somehow). It didn't look like enough of a challenge, so John and I rafted up with Marjorie. I don't think Leon noticed.

Bob Burnett couldn't make the trip, and we had been joking that Bob would be waiting for us when we got back to Essex. Better than that -- we all had little notes from Bob on our cars telling us the pub where we could meet him for the Post Paddle Pigout.

Brain Buckets - gotta have 'em

None of us had a helmet with us. Okay, the conditions were so light that if we tipped over in the knee deep water, we could't go far enough to bump our noggins on the bottom. Still in priniple, we should have been wearing helmets. Any hit to the head can ruin your day, and if head meets rocks, we're talking bad news. If you're going into surf, always wear a helmet. Expect a long diatribe on this in the not too distant future on the Safety Talk page.


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