At The (Rule) Break Of Dawn
A case for the pattern interrupt.

We all have routines.
Patterns that develop and accidentally become habits and then turn into rules that guide our day-to-day lives.

I have two such “rules” when it comes to surfing:

1. I don’t surf early in the morning. (Air is too cold, my body is too stiff, it’s too busy with the pre-work crowd)
2. I don’t go surfing with other people. (I prefer to be on my own program, I don’t want to wait for others)

But earlier this week I had a buddy in town who said he was paddling out before sunrise the next day. Sigh. OK, I thought. I can make an exception.

So I woke up in the dark and pulled my cold suit on. Then got a text from my buddy: Running 20 mins late. Of course, he was. This is why I have rule No. 2. I told him where I’d be paddling out and that I’d see him in the water.

I rode my bike down to the beach with my board under my arm. It was chilly, and I could see my breath in the headlights of the cars that drove by on their way to work. I locked my bike and jogged across the sand, squinting to see the waves. It looked good. I paddled out.

My timing was off on my first few waves. Still a bit too dark. So I sat out the back and just looked around. To the east, a faint yellow glow slowly got brighter over San Francisco. To the north, the Marin Headlands stood naked and proud. And out to sea, the horizon’s purple haze spilled onto the windless ocean and spread like watercolor.

I can't believe I live here, I thought. I should surf early more often.

I must have caught 20 waves before the sun fully breached the city’s hills and became almost blinding to surf toward. I was out of the water by 8:15am, and rode home feeling alert and happy. Never did see my friend, though.