Surfing with Debra Rose

Montauk Surfing, Giving Thanks

Can you recall the last time the fall brought us such a playful and memorable season of surfing in Montauk? Days, weeks, even months of consistent swell, fun conditions, and a variety of waves in which to choose from has given us so many joyful moments in the water.

We can marvel at the spectacular weather with warm summer days rather than the crisp post-season temperatures. Our reward after the summer is a full line-up of our surf buddies minus the excess crowds on the beaches and cars spilling out of the bloated parking lots. This fall brings an abundance of experiences to be appreciative of.

Montauk was also spared the tremendous damage that crushed the Caribbean after a parade of hurricanes swept through that region just over a month ago.

This also happens to be the time of year of transition, where the extended summer becomes chilly, leaf colors evolve and eventually drop, and the smell of fire places stand out as you cruise through Ditch to check the surf. This year the transition of seasons is on Montauk time, going at its own pace, but soon it will be time to break out the winter gear. Your 4/3, booties, Uggs in the morning, maybe getting into a heated car while still in your wetsuit.

It’s also the time of year where we emphasize friends, family, holidays and this month, being grateful for all that we have and are capable of doing.

Surfers tend to understand this intuitively, through a combination of disposition and spending so much time surrounded by nature. Many days in the water of clean and glassy waves without clouds or wind can feel like time stops. As another friend described, “Days like this are good for the soul.” Many consider surfing their ritual, their therapy, even their religion.

Those of us that surf can’t imagine living without it. We have a closer look at how precious our ocean is, a motivation for keeping it clean, and to attempt to observe and understand it. For all of us that surf and those that don’t (yet), there is a bigger picture and it is bigger than all of us.

We can all be grateful, whether you surf, fish, paddle, kayak, take walks on the beach or just live in Montauk and are surrounded by its beauty. We can all create an awareness around making a collective effort to never take this for granted. We must remember to keep our fragile environment clean, to be thankful for the opportunity and the proximity to jump into the water whenever we want to, even to catch a few waves, because it is all so truly special.

Right now we are also offered a hiatus from the summer invasion of many that may not take the time or space to note how unique Montauk is, or to recognize how lucky we are to have such energy and power in the sea and landscape surrounding us.

Fall offers the chance to reflect, to hit-the reset button if need be, and most importantly (and likely most fun), to jump in the ocean and ride a few waves, while remaining aware, humble and grateful.