This article originally appeared on The Inertia.
"If you sleep in and miss waves, you feel like shit."
Concise. Direct. True.
Luke Davis' sentiment on the struggles of dawn patrol is unflinching and to the point. Like the man himself. Raised in Capistrano Beach, Calif. as a high-profile up and comer and now residing in Los Angeles and embracing the city's diversity and eclecticism, Davis lets his surfing and dance moves do the talking. We met up this summer for a quiet surf on a pitifully-unsurfable morning at a Los Angeles beachbreak to chat about that fragile slice of time where a human (surfer) either hits snooze and keeps comatose or jolts out of bed to seize the day, and Mr. Davis left us with a dash of nuance on the matter. Of course, Luke also managed to make the flat ocean surfable, but it didn't quite fit his template for dawn patrol expeditions.
"If the waves are good, then I would say I'm a morning person," says Davis. "I'll wake up at like four and go surf. If it's shitty, I'll sleep in and try to get my hours in and sleep until like nine. It just depends. It depends on the waves."
The day we met, there were no waves. Luke was there for biz. And despite admitting his dawn patrols are situational, Davis has a certain respect for circadian rhythms. Something glowing screens are all too eager to destroy.
"Waking up with the sunrise, there's something about it," says Davis. "I don't know what it is, but it feels natural. That's when you're supposed to wake up, when the sun's rising."
After meandering inland from the Pacific, Davis' morning routine often includes a medieval peppering of hot/cold shocks by way of ice baths, saunas, and hot and cold showers. It's like a Rorschach test to prepare his mind for the day.
"It just gets your blood flowing and wakes you up," says Davis. "If you're fighting anything it's going to make it a lot harder than it has to be. It's just a good life lesson. You can choose your state of mind in a lot of situations."
The ideal for Davis? Probably not so different from any surfer.
"Just getting perfect waves all day. That's it for me. The more barreled I get, the happier I am. Give me them all. I just want them all."
Watch Dawn Patrol with Kyle Thiermann here.