(April 2, 2021) Picture a not-so-untypical winter day. It’s overcast, foggy, misty, cold and penetrating.
Not quite cold enough to snow, but certainly enough to feel it, really feel it. If one had to use the sun to orient themselves it wouldn’t be possible.
I head up to the beach to check the surf per usual. It’s a habit and a good one, I think, in an attempt to keep a finger on the pulse of the ocean.
There’s a small southerly swell, groomed just enough by the south-westerly wind, to produce a clean-faced wave running up the beach. It’s visible through the mist and fog.
Cameras, computers and websites are great, but there’s nothing that can compare with getting eyes on the conditions, upfront, close and personal.
To my surprise, there’s a fully wet-suited surfer, clad in rubber from head to toe – hood, gloves and boots – complete winter gear, walking up the beach at water’s edge toward me with surfboard in hand.
He’s carrying his board in a fashion parallel to the ground so as to present the least amount of resistance to the wind.
We share a few words and he paddles back out, quickly catching a wave, deftly riding it for quite a distance. The wave didn’t allow for much maneuvering except for a long graceful cutback and a stylish kick-out.
I didn’t expect to see this at all. Remember, this was not the perfect day.
It’s doubtful that any pictures would be taken for the internet, postcards, social media, newspapers or any other venue.
And yet, here was a lone surfer, squeezing out some sweetness, able to enjoy a bit of nature on a gray, nasty cold winter day. It’s quite the anomaly that most people don’t seem to have any idea of.
To them, their idea and memories of the beach are of warmth, sun and hanging out on a summer day. The truth is, this is what it can be like for roughly half the year.
Life goes on in these parts aside from the warmer summer season. Maybe hard to believe, but certainly true.
I remember a friend who had a business meeting with a client from out of town. This was winter time, February to be exact.
The client shows up in shorts and a T-shirt thinking that it’s always warm at the beach. I don’t know exactly where the guy called home, but it couldn’t have been from too far away. He obviously had a huge misconception of this area.
It’s easy to think that anything and everything surrounding this area is only centered on the summer season. but it goes so much farther than that.
As was alluded to earlier, the cold winter offseason can consist of roughly half the year, with plenty of good activity to be had and surfing being one of them despite the drawback of a cold, overcast, misty, foggy day.
Surf conditions are paramount regardless of weather, sunny, cloudy or otherwise. Water temperature, wind direction, swell direction and size can all play in to surf conditions.
Regardless of the season, the surf doesn’t have one, around this area at any rate. It’s a boon and a bane all at the same time and can be good at any time of the year.
– Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City.