During the spring, summer and fall I was always on the beach. I built sandcastles and dripped wet sand from a bucket into towers and windows. I read. I spent entire days without getting out of the water. I sailed and I surfed. As soon as one of my friends got a driver's license we started going surfing before school. We would wake up before sunrise and drive up and down the blocks in front of our favorite breaks, looking for our wave.
Sometimes the wind would be blowing and our faces would be wet with cold spray before we even crested the dune. Sometimes we would look out at the pre-sunrise glow on the horizon and see glassy waves reaching up to the overcast sky and gently folding over themselves as the met the sandbar. We would run down the dune, throw our boards to the sand, wriggle into our wetsuits, rub on a little wax and then sprint into the shore-break.
On those mornings, when the sun would rise in the lip of a cresting wave for our audience of three, I would lose myself. Squinting at the horizon I'd pick my wave and slowly paddle to the perfect spot as it rolled in to meet me. At the right moment I would turn to face the beach and, tossing one last glance over my shoulder, I would begin to paddle faster. Then as I felt the wave surge beneath me, my arms would turn to pistons in the water and my chest would pump the board below me, giving it a little burst of speed and then I was down the face and to my feet. The wind would hit me as I rode down the lip, the sun on my neck, spray popping about my feet.
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