Surfing in the Pacific Northwest is mostly an exercise in patience and humility, in managing one’s expectations. Exposure to Pacific storms and open ocean swell from the Bering Sea to the South Pacific, combined with strong tidal swings and plenty of wind, makes for very fickle conditions. If you live in one of the cities, even if you’ve been watching one of the cams, you never really know what you’re going to find until you crest the dune and lay eyes on it yourself. It's "adventure surfing." The more you monitor the swell, winds, tides, and currents, the more you learn that conditions are often junk, or huge, or blown out, or huge and blown out and junky .. and, of course, it's the PNW, so it's always COLD. Even when your forecasting intuition proves to be 100 and you score, conditions will often conspire to shut it down mid-session.
Such is surfing in the wild PNW. All of which just makes for a more resourceful, tolerant, and hardy surfer. No one embodies these qualities more than Coal team rider Austen Sweetin, whose hard-charging, up-for-whatever attitude and easygoing spirit are like a cartoonish mashup of the Tasmanian Devil and Bodhi from Point Break!
Filmmaker Kyle McCarty recently tagged along with Austen, as well as Coal ambassador / photographer / adventurer, Mark Welsh, for a weekend of wind .. and a couple waves. Check out the video for some wise words from one of our favorite dudes!