Wandering Thoughts

April 13, 2009

The Evening

Filed under: Staying Places,Surfing — terence @ 8:44 am
Tags: , ,

The wind was howling when I got there, clattering out of the valley, blowing chops up the faces of the waves, blowing plumes of spray off their backs. It filled the air with salt water rain, making it almost impossible to see. Still wondering if I should have stayed at home and finished that essay, I paddled out and caught a couple, free-fall drops, bouncy walls, racing barrels.  A few other surfers joined me. It was fun enough in a difficult sort of way.

Eventually, the evening worked its spell and – sun beyond the horizon, water changing colour – the wind dropped back. The waves got better as the day ran out until, right on the edge of dark, the set came through: shadowy swells filling the bay, the biggest waves of the afternoon. One of the Maori guys who lived up the valley caught the first one, dropping out of the lip to the hoots of his mates. I was next in line, the second one was mine, thick low swell bent into the bay. Humming with nervous excitement – don’t blow it, don’t blow it – I paddled out, spun and starting paddling in, matching the wave’s speed as it steepened, jumping to my feet as it became vertical. With a yell I called an interloper off and dropped, board falling under me. Turning at the bottom, I could see the wall beginning to bend in on itself. After that everything was instinct. I held my turn back for a moment, then angled up the wave, stalling, loosing speed, and then back down again, now pointed for the shoulder, in the pocket, accelerating. The wave turned concave, it’s dark-dark green lip throwing over me, and I was standing in the tube, chattering mind silenced for a moment, weaving my way through, section after section throwing over me.

Just before the closeout the wave backed off, letting me out and leaving me time to straighten out in front of the whitewater. Laughing, singing to myself; happy, happy at the end of the day.

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