“Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz” artist Suzanne Elliott

“Give. Give more. Give what you didn’t get.” ~ Garry Shandling, comedian

Garry set his elbows on his knees and leaned toward the T.V., pointing. “See that? He’s totally in the moment. That look, you see it?” He paused the fight. We examined the look in Floyd Mayweather’s right eye: something beyond focused, beyond determined, just so… “He’s so fucking present,” said Garry. “He’s not in his head. Like you,” he added. “I’m just kidding. I’ll leave now. Wait, it’s my house…”

The break… The ring… The wave… The fight.

It’s an ecstasy that bleeds you. It’s the stigmata of…


My home break In Del Mar features a rip bowl as the tide plunges (Author pictured, Photo credit Scotty Peck)

“If in doubt, paddle out.” ~ Nat Young

Christian and I have been hitting a new spot closer to home. A couple days ago, he made the call to head back to this break that I have yet to understand. I love the wilderness there, but my hackles go up at the wave height, even though it can be soft.

It’s capricious and dodgy in front of the jetty, but the wave rolls for a hundred yards and when it’s working, the magic shoots through your marrow like a good drug.

“Here’s the strategy,” he said, his trucker hat on…


Captain Liz Clark with her traveling cat Amelia, photo credit: Jianca Lazarus from the book “Swell”

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths

and a great fear of shallow living.” ~ Anaïs Nin

Agatha Christie was a surfer.

Yes, the English mystery writer loved sliding the waves, and even was one of the first women to rock a one-piece swimsuit out on the water.

If you didn’t know this about her, neither did I.


The author, sheltering in place

“Forbearance in the face of fate, beauty constant under torture, are not merely passive. They are a positive achievement, an explicit triumph.” ~ Thomas Mann

Your mental health depends on surfing?

So does mine.

Your favorite break is empty because everyone is sheltering at home?

So is mine.

Let’s talk about why it’s important as surfers to form an alliance to shelter in place, and what you can do to ease the discomfort of not paddling out. There have been divisive arguments about this, and I’d like to set my rail right here, against my ottoman.

This is why you…


Totally stole this off the Internet, no idea who made it, but it’s genius, please make more.

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry,
Smell the sea, and feel the sky,
Let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.”

— Van Morrison, Into the Mystic

I’m really stuck right now on how to define my religion. It’s clear I have one, and that surfing is at the center of it. But should I call it “religion”… or “religious practice”? …


Big wave wipeout Jaws, Maui (photo CNN- Brian Beilmann)

“The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea.” — Karen Blixen, novelist (Otherwise known by her penname Isaac Denisen)

Surfing is sexy.

A quick scroll through images of waves on Instagram lulls you into a dreamy quixotic dream of magical blue liquid, curling in slow motion, plunging a nimble surfer down the line, easy as breathing.

Just stroll down the street of my local surf town, Encinitas, CA, and you’ll be met with compelling glimpses behind curtains of water as young (always young, btw) men and women poised on billboards and in shop windows showcase the appealing…


Dawn Patrol, Autumn in Encinitas, CA (photo credit, the author)

“I know what I have to do now. I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

– Tom Hanks, from the film Cast Away

I stand in the parking lot in the eerie, predawn light. It’s a reverse twilight that paints the world in shades of silver, pewter, charcoal. Ghost palette. The moon in the west hangs like a burlesque dancer in the spotlight from the ceiling, one garter pulled up half way, messy and dainty, still young enough not to be old. She knows all your secrets.

I am…


The author and her son in Cardiff, California (photo credit Scotty Peck)

Every morning I splash cold water on my eyes, then check the tides on my phone. I make a fresh cup of black tea, goat milk and honey before the sun rises, and sip out to the deck while my son sleeps peacefully in my bed.

I dream of the dark sea.

My son is 6 now. He can run as fast as me.

I remember breast-feeding him at 3 o’clock in the morning, how intimate it was, to hold him to my body, his urgent need, tiny fingers clenched, and my anxiety about whether I could possibly sustain the…


North County, San Diego, author’s growing surfboard quiver

March 22, 2018. In my last dream of the morning, I see a text message from my surf coach Christian that says, “We’re going to a new spot today.”

An hour later at 7am, he calls me and says verbatim, “We’re going to a new spot today.” By 11am at low tide, Dog Beach is a piddling beach break. So we cruise over to Cherry Hill. It’s raining, a few plump drops from incontinent clouds overhead, and as cold as San Diego tends to get, hovering in the low 60’s. Water temp down in the mid-50's.

Mindset almost doesn’t matter…


The author, on her feet in the reform wave, Del Mar, CA

It was 2 weeks before my 40th birthday, in October 2016, and I would carry the grief, confusion and previous ocean traumas I’d endured into the cold Pacific with me, shaken to the bone, but determined to overcome whatever I could, if anything at all.

I’d always wanted to surf. Growing up in Pacific Palisades, California, many of my friends (all dudes), drifted into home period at Pali High with wet hair having set their alarms before dawn to hit the waves before class. …

Kaia Alexander

Welcome to the Surf Cowgirl Chronicles! How I started surfing at age 40 after ocean traumas. California native. Mom. Moon worshipper. www.kaiaalexander.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store