One of the rare non-rainy days we’ve had in the past couple of weeks. Photo: Ming Nomchong

The first of March marks the Autumn solstice here in Byron Bay, Australia - and much like California, the waves should start to pick up around this time of year. Also much like California, it is often even warmer in the beginning of Fall than the majority of summertime! Here we are - six days in and so far it’s still ridiculously hot, but also raining like crazy! When not actually precipitating, the humidity is somewhere around 92% - and constantly sweating gets sort of old after a while. Good thing the ocean is readily available for a cool-down dip, even with bath tub temperatures. This past week, the ocean must have missed the memo on the autumn surf, and in the bay, the waves have been dead flat. While it has gotten frustrating, it also was really neat to go swim around the places I’m usually riding waves, taking the time to check out the fish and turtles.

Today, finally, I got my first taste of an Autumn cyclone swell, driving up to The Pass in the pouring rain expecting tiny ripples at the most. I was so surprised to see waist-to-chest peelers rolling through the point, and almost no one out! I figured it looked better than it was and that the waves were really soft, but as soon as I paddled out, I realized it was actually the opposite - it was even better than it looked! The rain was definitely keeping the crowds down, and although there was a cool offshore breeze, it was still tropically warm and enjoyable - no wetsuit needed! I’m starting to think the promise of “needing a fullsuit in the Winter” is going to turn out to be pleasantly untrue.

I surfed with my friend Elise until our legs were tired from getting endless rides, and our tummies began to rumble for some post-surf treats. It's usually so hot as soon as I get out of the water, I’m sweating within minutes and all I crave is a smoothie or iced coffee. Even though the air is around 80 degrees right now, the rain makes it feel less hot, and a warm beverage enjoyed with a pal sounded like the perfect way to end the session. At a local bakery, we ordered some pastries and hot chocolate, sat and watched the rain come down, and for just a fleeting moment - I almost felt some actual autumnal vibes. I even wore a jacket!