There is a famous saying in life. “The early Bird gets the Worm!”
Bringing this into Surf culture has been the best kept secret, maybe not a secret but not practised enough. The myth is when you know there is swell, you should be in the water before the sun comes up. This is when the waves reward you with no wind, no crowds and just waves running from top to bottom. It is the dream, especially if you live in an overcrowded spot. So this is the reason why wake up for a dawnie.
You may be thinking that there are swell charts and surf forecasts that can predict how worth while it may be to wake up before the sun does (Which can be at 4:40am in the peak of summer time). The motivation needs to equal the reward. I can not count how many mornings I have woken up to clear skies, glassy waters, no crowds and perfect waves.
Even though I have witnessed this multiple times, it can still be difficult to be motivated to get out of bed at 5am in the morning. So I have to do what every healthy grownup does. I put my phone on the other side of the room, with an alarm tone that makes me want to break my phone to make it stop and then set up multiple alarms in a row. After I defeat the alarm, I brew some coffee and start to pack the boards and wetsuits in the car (regretting not having done it the night before).
Driving down (or walking if you fortunate enough) you arrive at your favourite spot. It is still dark so you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. You have made it this far so it no longer matters if the waves are good enough, you start to suit up! Getting into the water is the last challenge. It is always ice-cold or oddly warm.
Now you wait to hopefully reap the rewards. You start to see the sun illuminate the sky in pinks and peaches, seagulls and flamingos fly past creating beautiful silhouettes. Everything is feeling magical. You look in the distance and see a fin… You start to panic and pray! “Let me see more fins!” As you start scouting where is the quickest space to get out, the awe inducing pod of dolphins come right next to you. At this point you tell yourself, “This was all worth waking up for.”
The sun starts to peak over the horizon and for some reason the earths natural wave machine is somehow activated. You turn around and start paddling onto a 3ft-5ft wave. You cruise down the line, whipping the tail out every now and then until the end. You paddle back up and as soon as you get to the top, the next wave comes through. After catching about 10-15 waves you are exhausted.
By this time the rest of civilisation starts to get up. The words out that there are waves and the different surf squads start to gather in the parking lot. As they’re suiting up, you realise you better catch your last wave. You paddle and it’s a bomb! You shred the wave right out of the water. Walking back and watching everyone paddle in, you notice in the distance the ripples in the water. The Devil-Wind (on-shore) hits and the surf is over.
This has been my experience all too often. Maybe not every part, every time. More than often one of the beautiful experiences makes the ‘dawnie’ so worth it. Of course there are days when I arrive and there are no waves and its howling onshore. But you never know if you don’t wake up and see which day you will get!
It’s the small things in life that we should look forward to and waking up appreciating those small things can definitely brighten your day. Let me know some of your experiences below in the comments or via our social media channels and tell us why you dawnie.