Nothing burns like the cold. But in the right hands, she’ll melt. That’s the thing about matching a desire to surf against an unimaginable foe. The cold. A cold so deep and so thorough that death lies right on the surface of your skin. There is no other time then when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only. Cold, cold cold. Snow doesn’t give a goddamn whom it touches. When snow falls, nature listens. And if you want to surf in agonizing conditions, inhuman conditions, you better too. Funny how snow makes even the dirtiest place look clean. How you can taste the sky, touch the air around you. Snow, like grains of sand, beaches of it… but deadly, deadly cold. So damn cold even angels are grounded. So cold it makes you want to get married. Let’s face it, our favorite thing about cold is when it’s over.

But still, desire, like the primal ardor for a mate, drives some surfers into a kind of hell on earth. Not a hell of fire but of ice. Numbness. Into a madness. Entering a world with a body that is begging you not to. Because chasing a surfing dream takes you over the edge. Like the temptation of Christ, there is brother devil, offering you paradise, but at a price. You stand there looking out at empty, perfect, offshore barrelling tubes. Yours for the taking. But oh, that price to pay. Bitch cold. Witch cold. Skull cracking bastard cold. Your blood hates you for it. The work your heart is going to have to do.

To go fight a battle against time that is impossible to win. You can only charge the enemy lines, become a casualty and retreat before your fire within bleeds out. Still, that temptation is grinding. You realize you don’t have a choice. It’s only cold for those who stand still. So you call on your own packed heat. You suit up in blankets of neoprene. You tramp and crunch through the snow. And you wade into what isn’t water any sane surfer would want. The monster isn’t under the bed anymore, it’s screaming inside your head with your first duck dive. Your hands are assaulted. Your face withdraws and contracts. Your eyeballs could freeze solid. You are in danger. Your own mother wouldn’t recognize you. The fuse is lit. It’s only a matter of time before have to shut it all down. Or the ocean will do it for you.

And yet you go on. You go out and go through the same motions you would on the equator. Paddling, take-offs, turns, tubes. Until the horniness passes. And you return to shore with the hell beat out of you. With the love beat out of you. And you struggle out of one miraculous outfit and into another that returns you to the world of warmth. And your body loves you again. And you look back at the surf. And like sex, you cannot remember the orgasmic moments, because they have been left behind. But, like all madmen, you know you’re gonna want it again someday. Someday soon. And you will shake your fist at the hellish cold to go get it. To go retrieve those moments now frozen in time.


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