Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wrote: June 23rd, 2008
How can waves be this perfect? Despite the jagged reef touching my feet while I sit on my board waiting out the lull, I wonder this. Every wave, perfection. Small big. It breaks like a machine perfectly over the coral. Crystal clear turquoise water. Sunshine. Offshore breeze. This is why I’m here. I knew it was here. But I’ve been surfing for 9 years now and have never seen perfection on this scale.
I woke this morning before sunrise. The heaving rains kept me up most of the night. Birds began chirping as soon as it stopped. The power went out and the lack of the wind flowing from the fan in my room made the air sticky and stagnant. It was time.
I paddled out into shoulder to head high waves. Six guys out. The sets were few and far between. The reef as about half exposed on the flooding tide. Reef booties are not only necessary they are required. You can walk almost the whole wave to the break. If you time it right, you can be sitting on your board in the lineup with your hair still dry.
I saw it coming from back. Everyone starting paddling out to meet it. I didn’t move. Half frozen is awe of its rolling beauty. Just watching the swell begin the feel the coral just like my feet do, it went from a rolling hill of water to a wall of explosion. Everyone underestimated it’s size and paddled too far. Not thinking I’d make the wave, I ended up in the perfect position. I could already tell that it was going to be difficult to make the drop. I dared not to look right as I could already hear the wave slamming against the reef with awesome force. I paddled hard, kicking with my feet. I’ve learned that once you decide to paddle for waves with this much power, you cannot hesitate. In fact it is the most dangerous thing you could do. If you want the wave, you paddle as hard as you can. I felt a small free fall and then my feet hit the board. The lip of the wave was thick. The water in front of my was too shallow to jump into, the wave too thick to jump over or push through. I was in. I grabbed my rail and held on hoping for the best. The wave was fast. It was chasing me and catching up quickly. I crouched down to avoid my head from getting hit by the massive lip pitching itself against the shallow bottom. It completely covered me. It let me inside it’s beautiful green room and all I could think about was making it back out. I could see the opening. It was fast, but I had enough speed to keep up with it. It’s like the wave was giving me a chance. Teasing me to play with her until the end. I came out. Looked up, the wave was still going. She was walling up again. This was my chance to get out. Had I rode it enough? There is still more wave to be had. I probably won’t make it if I stay on. But I did. I grabbed my rail once more and tucked in for the second barrel on the same wave. This time it was faster and breaking harder in shallower water. The barrel was beautiful. To be inside an ocean wave and still breathing air is something that I’ve spent a good chunk of my life searching for. I had a moment of complete tranquility. Everything I’d gone through to get here all now made so much sense. The wave caught me. Too fast to keep up with. Inside the barrel and the whole bottom of the wave took me and my board over the falls. Holding me down. Bumping the reef. Whitewater was everywhere. I gasped for air. My heart was throbbing in my neck. The adrenaline was almost too much to handle. I looked back at the shore, contemplating going in for breakfast as I’d been surfing for almost 2 hours but I turned and started paddling back to the lineup.