We chose a spot roughly an hour from the Oregon border and arrived just before the sun dipped below the sky. We hurried off to a spot where we could pitch our tents while there was still light out, and made sure there was time to sit around the campfire in the cold listening to the waves crash on shore and the wind whistle through the forest. We stayed up late into the night talking about memories from the summer road trips that will go down forever in our long list of dirtbag days.

While most of my fellow climbers were mourning the end of climbing season, a few of us had decided to take a short camping trip. We decided to hit the waves and celebrate the end of something else entirely.

I live in Humboldt County and it was the first weekend of November – anyone who surfs in California near the Red Triangle knows what that means; Sharktober is coming to an end. For those of you who don’t know, Sharktober is actually the time between August and October where we see the highest rate of shark attacks in California and account for nearly 65% of Shark attacks in a year. We managed to make it out without any gaping bite marks in our boards (or ourselves), so it was a total success as far as any of us were concerned. 

As soon as the sun crept in through the forest behind us, we felt the warmth on our sleeping bags, and crawled out of our tents to the sight of an Elk Herd not too far away, walking on the beach to check the surf with me while the others checked the bear boxes for breakfast.

If there is one thing I have learned from overnight trips to the beach, it’s that sand goes wherever it pleases and there is no way to successfully combat it. However, I have found one sure fire way to remove the sand from the most remote places: A bag of wet wipes or a wet microfiber towel never fails to absorb every little grain of sand to make for a much more comfortable stay. Once we were all sand free, we were out to the water and the surf was heavy, but nothing was going to rain on our end-of-Sharktober parade, not even the rain. We paddled on.

Sometimes when you check the surf, there are days when you’re not sure if it’s worth it. It’s choppy, heavy, and windy out – but those days always turn out to be the most memorable days for one of the two reasons: 1.) It turns out to be super rad and you were the lucky one to score while nobody else was out. Or option 2.) You were right and it was way too heavy and you never thought a wave could hurt so much and now you’re washing up on shore coughing up part of the last wave that hit you over the head. For us we were the lucky surfers to get to experience option number two all day long! I was reminded of that for the rest of the week every time I attempted to look over my shoulder or reach for cups from the top shelf.. Nonetheless the trip turned out to be a total success.

Sharktober was over, we surfed, and spent plenty of time by the fire beer in hand talking smack and reminiscing on what the summer gave us.