For most, summer means hot days, bronze skin, and sleeping in; but for the solitude-inclined surfer, it also entails cold mornings, waking before dawn, and bundling up in jackets to go find waves before the lineup teems with tourists.

dp-1Dawn patrol surfs are my absolute favorite. I relish the tranquility in those early moments–the dew on the leaves, the mist, the bristling silence and then the soft sounds of the birds–the earth coming to life. On those days when I wake up with the sun, I climb out of bed and put on a warm, soft sweatshirt and a hat, then head to the kitchen where my coffee awaits.

dp-2The smell of the SLOWCOAST blend coffee drifts towards my nose tantalizingly as I slowly pour the water over the grinds. This blend is my savior in those early hours; the rich, balanced flavor is just what I need while waking up. After my coffee is ready I take it in my jar, drinking and holding it for warmth as I put my surfboard on my car and grab my wetsuit off a branch of the small oak next to it.

dp-3I start driving just as the light begins trickling softly through the trees over the winding mountain road that leads me to the coast. The leaves and moss on the interlacing branches overhead give the streams of light a certain golden, almost greenish quality.

As I turn onto Highway 1 and get my first look at the vibrant blue of the ocean, excitement floods through my body, a feeling that springs up again as I drive by surf spots and see waves with no one on them. When I finally decide where to go out, after I’ve assessed the conditions at all the spots, I take a last sip of my warm coffee and take off my cosy sweatshirt, changing into my wetsuit.

As I enter the ocean and paddle towards the only other surfer, the frigid water makes me gasp. Despite being tolerable and somewhat warm during sunnier hours of the day, it almost feels icy in early hours. But as soon as I catch my first wave and glide down the face with no one in my way, it all feels worth it, and I remember why I’m in the water when most are still curled up in their warm beds.

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