With or Without You

I know that I wrote something about “Crazy For You, But Not That Crazy” last fall. Ok that was a load of bollocks. It just depends on how long it’s been since I’ve been surfing. If I had to pick a song lyric, it’s probably: “With or Without You.” How many U2 posts can I make?….

The surf was up to 12-14 feet, with 30 knot winds. I watched the lake cam all day at work with a mingled sensation of dread and excitement. Dread in that I knew it would be heinous with a 30 knot dead westerly wind on shore. With no northerly bent to the wind, the pier (depicted above) doesn’t shelter the wind at all so that you can break out to catch the bigger waves farther out.

I managed to get my new fins set in the slots. They are heavier and more solid than the last type. And they give a feeling of confidence rather than worry. I got set in the Boogie and waited for a surge of water to pull me out, rather than knuckle dragging it out. Once the boat was pulled out to sea (so to speak), I began the slugfest. The top paddle blade was fighting the wind on every stroke. I adjusted the feather angle on my lendal to 45 degrees, which helped some, but not enough. I could clear the first three sets of breakers by paddling diagonally to the wind in a couple of rips. But once out to the next big set of breakers ,I just didn’t have enough hull speed to get clear. So I would turn around right when I saw a big set coming in and try to catch a quick ride. I caught perhaps 3 good rides. Got a good flat spin on one. I was pummelled pretty well after only an hour. I only got nuked twice nose to tail and rolled up well both times on my offside.

Somewhere between fall and spring, the sanity left me again. I can’t wait to go out again when the wind is out of the northwest and I can catch some worthwhile rides.

I love that feeling when I’m paddling out into the wind and it’s impossible to make any headway and I’m thinking in my head, “Ok just one more good ride, just one more, then I’ll go in.”

I know I’m not unique in this way, because Jason Roon and Doug were out that day too. But perhaps the company of fellow mental people isn’t too bad. I just need to get some good rides in this spring, I feel like I’m in a rut and need that moment where the wave takes me, and I get to feel that impossible acceleration downwave and then drop the rudder in to sweep back up wave to stay in the pocket and hang on.

Seldom used alternate verses to With or Without You:

“You shine like stars in the summer night,
you shine like stars in the winter night,
one heart, one hope, one love, with or without you.”


  1. great pictures, thanks for sharing. keep up the great work on the blog

  2. Those are great pics, Keith. Very professional. What kind of camera do you use?

    Since I rediscovered kayaking, I have taken up an interest in photography. I guess I just feel the need to let my friends and family know what they are missing. I see the most beautiful things out on the water. I am sure you understand that. That pic of the water hitting the pier is pretty amazing!

    Just wondering, you living close to Lake Mi and all, have you ever looked into that SurfYak? I saw a website that had a stitch and glue surf kayak. I imagine it would be pretty fun out on the big wave days but there is very little feedback online about it.

    Hope to see you up at the TC training camp this summer. Freya, Stamer, ….it should be cool!