I’ve had a lingering cold for longer than I want to even mention. I rarely get sick, but it seems when I do it’s hard for me to shake the virus completely. I tried all the sensible things like taking it easy, vitamins, eating well, sleeping lots, etc… Nothing seemed to be working so I decided I need to try a different form of cold therapy.
That found me last week encased in a thick wetsuit standing on the South Chesterham Beach near Tofino BC with a surfboard. The waves were big and chaotic with not a surfer in sight [these photo were taken later at North Chesterham]. It was cold and rainy with enough fog that it was hard to see very far. I was starting to doubt the sensibility of my plan, but figured what the heck. So I wade in to the water with my board. Being totally alone and in bigger conditions than my lessons [same beach] was a bit of a head trip. I revised my plan from working on my surfing to just getting out past the shore break safely.
The challenge is dealing with each wave that hits you efficiently so that you can sprint as far as possible before the next wave is upon you. If you do it poorly you get pushed back almost as far by the wave as you managed to paddle forwards before it hit you. That leads to being hit by a lot of waves and being very tired by the time you get out past the breaking waves. Although it was still pretty hard work I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to handle each wave pretty well which meant I could cover a lot of ground between waves. That got me out where I needed to be more easily than I had expected. Sweet!
Unfortunately my cold left me feeling really tired and drained of energy so although it wasn’t as much work to paddle out as it could have been I was worn out before I even tried to catch a wave. Happily I wasn’t actually cold. If you had told me a few months ago I’d be warm and toasty in the North Pacific in November I’d look at you like you were nuts, but the combination of a decent wetsuit + hood and some exertion kept me well insulated from the water. So I bobbed around for a while enjoying the moment in a beautiful spot.
After a while I realized I wasn’t in any shape to actually surf and I was a bit worried that there were no surfers in sight. I don’t know the area well enough to understand all the effects of currents and tides so it’s nice to see a few local faces in the water so that you know you aren’t at risk. I paddled in relatively easily and managed to catch a wave lying down on my board that pushed me most of the way to the beach.
Once I was back in near the beach I decided to bob around in the foam for a bit and enjoy the warm buoyancy of my wetsuit!
After I got my wetsuit off and changed into dry clothes I wandered over to North Chesterham Beach and found a few surfers in action. Conditions were slightly better here which reminds me to do a bit more scouting before I head into the water.
On the drive home I felt worse than I had the last few days so being energetic in the cold water wasn’t an effective treatment, but I had fun and it was a nice change from sitting on couch watching Netflix while I sniffled. I was back to my normal level of sickness the following day so it seems like it wasn’t a totally dumb move and the improvement to my morale seems worth it.