I feel the biting water at my feet. I can taste the salt in my sea tangled hair. I watch as the ocean waves rock the surf boards, floating, waiting for the perfect time. I slosh threw the water in my tight black and blue wetsuit. Surfboard in arms I step father into the ocean, feet gripping the sandy floor.
“The current is strong today. It is going to be more difficult to get to the surf” warns our instructor.
It was 6:10 pm, the beach we surfed at was a private beach so surfers could only surf after the beach closed or before it opened. It was funny cause whenever the lifeguard walked out onto the hot sun baked beach the surfers would scatter faster then shoppers during black friday.
The waves come in packs, like wolves. Every step forward, the waves push 2 steps back. I need to get to the surf, I need to get to the surf. I’d surfed twice before, but it was nothing like this. This Time I Was Scared.
Surfing in the summer is the easiest time to surf, the waves are gentle and easy to catch. But on the other hand when you vear towards fall the waves get bigger and much harder to ride. (According to big time surfers, fall is the best time to surf because of all of the tropical storms.)
“Move this way, we’re drifting towards the rocks” commanded our instructor.
I push closer to the break, the hardest place to pass. The water is at my chest now but I have to keep pushing, watching for big waves on the horizon.
“I want you all to follow me” called the instructor.
Then I see them hurtling towards us… they come one after another. The waves, they look like mountains from where i’m standing when really they are only a few feet tall. The break, I’m in the break these waves are going to pound me I think. I want to rush back to the shore, a million scenarios rush threw my mind. The waves inch closer coming at a much faster speed then I want them to be.
”Jump or go over” Commands out instructor.
I’m too short to jump and definitely not able to pull my board under with me. I panic. I grasp the string that attaches me to my board, take a breath and dive.
Boom;I feel the wave break above me, raging across my body. My leg pulls back from the rope wrapped around my ankle. My board flies backwards slamming the water with a bang. I resurface; scared but relieved. I want to swim back but I don’t. I stay for the thrill. I surf for the thrill.
“A little advice?” Asks the instructor as he gestures to me.
“Yah sure go ahead” I nodd.
“Life is a lot like surfing, you can’t think that it will be easy to get to your destination. You have to fight for your spot at the surf, the waves are your rivals and your closest friend. You can feel afraid, but you have to keep pushing forward even when it feels like you are being pushed 2 steps back. So it might be hard but don’t give up, giving up is for people who are afraid to try. Now let’s get to that surf shall we” smiled the instructor, obviously very proud of his advice.
Wiping my eyes free of salty water from the wave before, I hear it, the next wave barreling towards the break. I watch as people begin to paddle ready to pounce on the terrifyingly beautiful wave. Look ahead I think, just keep moving.
Then out of nowhere it is in front of me. I want to dive underneath to the safety of the sea but I know I don’t have time. I will try anyway I think, grabbing onto my string holding it tight once again. I feel the water as my head moves under. The wave comes pounding on the sea, I lose my balance on the sand. It tosses and turns me like I am a piece of seaweed in an ocean of waves. I want to break free from the wave but I can’t. I try to push up but the next wave comes sending me back down into the cold sea. My leg pulls back from the surfboard’s tug towards the shore.
And my conscious rushes back to that morning with the kids piling in our friends’ pitch black van. Singing songs and laughing and joking and smiling. And I remember blaring Hamilton in the back seat “I’ve never been the type to try and grab the spotlight but we at the revel with some revels on a hot night” we half sing and half laugh as we attempt to act out the parts.
Next my mind rushes to the first time I surfed. I watched for waves, picked the smallest one I could ride. And well, didn’t even make it to standing before I fell.
I remember the first time I rode the wave in, laughing I put my arms up as a symbol that I felt relieved, powerful, and free.
Then all of a sudden my consciousness returns, struggling to find my way to the surface. Afraid of drowning, I pull. One hand after another I grasp the board. My legs steady on the sandy ocean floor once again. Head resurfaces. Gasp. Inhale. Exhale. Breath. Arms on the board I push my stomach up against the hard surface.
Now laying flat against the water one hand at a time I paddle. Hair wet whipping from side to side, hands cutting threw the water, knowing that I will be alright. I’m in it for the thrill, I think. For the thrill. Paddle. Paddle. Just keep paddling.
Finally after what felt like the fight that lasted forever, relief floods threw my system. I’m in the surf, I made it to the surf I think. Waiting patiently for the instructor to set me with a wave I smile. I am determined to ride a wave in. I am going to ride a wave in.
And just like that it comes. Beautiful glistening in the sun, it is a barreler I think. This wave was the color of the perfect blueberry, it gistened blinding those who looked directly at it. I hear it coming, I can sense it coming in the water. The perfect wave. I watch others catch a glimpse of the wave reacting quickly readying to catch it. I watch it, moving towards me. Normally I would be scared but now I am determined. I am going to ride this wave in.
Paddle, paddle, paddle. 1 knee, 2 knees, steady, 1 foot, 2 feet, pop up. Ride it in, I repeat the steps over and over in my head.This is it I think this is what I have worked so hard for. 3, 2, 1 GO! I feel the cool water on my hands as I paddle with the wave. I feel my knees hit the hard board. My hands push up, steardyed I hold on. I pop up feeling the wave break below my board. I feel invincible. Turning from side to side the board follows, like it is a part of me and I am a part of it. The water splashes on my face. And I know that I did it. I did it for the thrill. I did it to feel invincible. And I do indeed feel invincible.