A year ago to the day I stood on the bridge in downtown Missoula trying to get a good photo of kayakers surfing the standing wave. Now I’m deciphering the best method for getting up on surfboard without the dozens of spectators thinking I’m a joke.
From my previous perspective on the bridge, I never imagined myself returning to the opportunity of surfing it. So when Seth Warren and Sara Close asked if I surf, I figured it was merely small talk as we waited for my girlfriend, Staj, to arrive in town. Their giddy reaction to my positive reply, however, indicated something was up and once Staj arrived, we loaded up Seth’s veggie fueled Japanese fire truck, Baby, with surfboards and headed to Brennen’s wave.
I grew up surfing in Oregon where waves break far from any metropolis so I feel an initial difference right away. Once in the wave, I discover just how contrasting two waves can be. The ocean’s waves are travelers who celebrate the end of their lives with a curling bang. A standing river wave shakes a fist at time and lives in perpetuity like the fountain of youth. Should it be the case, I’m destined to grow old with the oceans waves. Learning the idiosyncrasies of Brennen’s wave demands many swims to shore and walks back up the hot asphalt, but as with most elements of nature, diligence is rewarded and I raise the applause of the crowds gathered on the overlook. The rush of oncoming water is an intimidating force that tries to sink you with any opportunity, because if it didn’t you’d ride the wave forever.
[Photos: Sara Close]