Editor’s Note: The Inertia’s Dawn Patrol series presented by MUD\WTR examines the morning rituals and early-hour decisions that set the tone for the day. Add them up, and those decisions set the tone for life.
Popping out of bed before sunrise is easier for some than others. It’s a high-stakes moment for your day. You either seized the moment or you didn’t. With that tiny window slammed shut by 6:30 a.m, that decision makes a disproportionate impact on the day ahead, and Ventura longboarder Ming Hui Brown believes the sacrifice is totally worth it. Even if she’s certain she’ll be freezing.
“I’m a pretty odd person,” says Ming Hui Brown. “I surf year round in a spring suit. Sometimes overcoming the cold is a little extra tough for me, because I know it’s going to be cold. The motivation is knowing it’s going to be beautiful, less wind, there are going to be great waves, and you’re going to feel great, refreshed, and it’s a great way to start your day.”
“Sometimes you can smell the air, and you can smell the fall morning,” continues Brown. “Maybe that means you have Santa Anas blowing, and it’s offshore wind. You can smell the crisp air, and you’re like, “Oooh. Today’s going to be good.”
For Brown, early morning surfs conjure childhood memories.
“I would do dawn patrol almost every day as a kid,” says Brown. “When we got done surfing, My dad would have hot chocolate ready for us in the car, and we would shower really quickly with hot water, and it was the coolest way to start my day as a pre-teen/teenager.”
Beyond the more obvious invigorating aspects of rising to surf early and positive childhood associations, Brown is now a teacher at Buena High School in Ventura. She strives to be a positive role model to support her students, and a morning surf is like a daily vitamin. It allows her to be her best not just for herself, but also for her students.
“It’s tough waking up early sometimes, but knowing that there’s kids that depend on me and on my presence means a lot to me,” she says. “I also have this crazy bond with the ocean and with surfing. I feel like it’s the only thing that truly gets me and the only thing that I can really feel connected to and where I can really express my true self.”