“Even a blind kook finds a nut every once in a while.”
I have ridden (a little) bigger waves, warmer waves, prettier waves, longer waves and more so-called perfect waves, but I don’t think any wave as satisfying as the one this late afternoon.
The shorebreak was in tumult, so had to add a half mile to the paddle out from distant cove to avoid a premature, energy-suck and thrash; rewarded with a dry-hair entry to the outside. Finally, a mile and half later, alone on an outer shelf at low tide, the shore disconcertingly far. A place decades in familiarity, now feeling strange and discordant amid the scale.
The uber-hyped “bomb” swell revealing honor to its hype, the waves moving with unnatural speed and torquing roughly over the rock reef. The almost flat, still air a paradox as the residue of storm winds sending choppy teeth of ugly short-period energy on the surface of an unsettled sea. Eerily alone, and while unable to quiet of the doubts of “where is everyone” i still knew I could see, could feel, a gem was percolating amid the maelstrom. Confidence from hard-won experience (read: career filled with kooky wipeouts) created a confidence which drowned out – if by no means overwhelmed — by doubts, or a least pretending to do so – and listening to he louder voice that hungered for one which was good enough to keep me seeking.
Years of scrapping on the edges for waves amid the usual hungry horde at this “mysto-serious” semi-scret spot gave me a plan. The pushy sweep of the heavy 270-angle west energy threatened to shake me from the invisible, yet dependable, lineup entry point I had honed during the decades. For over an hour I had knew the “where” amid the “why,” via a triangulation of a particular outcropping of rock, an errant runoff hose from a decrepit manse on a hill, with a rocky promontory to the north completing the puzzle.
Temptation for a find wave was a duplicitous siren call to go inside – a fool’s mission, I knew — still calling even though i knew it was folly. And i had to ignore the luring, rouge section-y bombs just to the north, taunting me with seemingly perfect, firing walls. But I knew the eyes can lie, an illusion that was at once convincingly real, yet obvious in its dishonesty.
The stalking was not in movement of hunting down a prey, but in the never-stop energy to remain planted in the one place as the dance of the hunt.
An hour, alone, then a little more. No chit chat, except for the ca-caw of an errant sea bird. Then, in the far distance , a hump showed itself, but only a hint offering more questions than answers and I had been deceived and disappointed before. Would it hit down to the slot ofmy position, would it unfold elegantly or be beguiled by chunks of lips dropping on itself? Would it warble swing wide, or be just too small on this bottomed-out negative tide and pass underneath me. Then I saw it was mine and it was time.
A roping hook with a luscious edge of an entry point. As the wave felt the bottom causing it rise up and go convex, it was exactly where it should be, doing exactly what it should be doing, but to fulfill it’s destiny it needed a partner. I turned and of course, rearing its voice, an instinct demanded I flee. But this wave the final piece of a jig saw puzzle and a game I had been playing and staying a servant to what I cerebrally knew versus the reptilian part of the brain attempting to convince me to run – I stayed.
And like in a tango, I stepped into my particular role, humble role in the dance. A shot of of doubt laced with fear tried to cut in – but I stroked down the face of the behemoth, more fearsome in its speed and power than pure size. And then I was surfing. .A photo would be an injustice as it would imply that the end was more important than the journey to be there now (thank you Baba Ram Dass) and I dropped from the lip line and down the face, and then a single turn projecting me outwards along the face. Nothing fancy, nothing dramatic — those days are largely gone — but there was glide.
The wave — my wave — being where it was supposed to be and doing what it was supposed to do, and my playing my part in the pas de duex. And then it was over and I, well, have to admit, hooted at myself and to myself (except maybe for the seals – is it a claim if no one was there to hear or see it?) and Then like is there nature, it dissipated back into the sea. Cowabunga, boys and girls. Get yours, as mine will linger and accompany me for a long while.
I had a bowl of ice cream and a fat tumbler of Jack.
Even a blind kook finds a nut every once in a while.