I woke up at 7:15am.. so freaking late. Had some breakfast, checked the swell forecast and tried to make sense of it—according to my sense-making abilities of the surf, which is not much, I told myself wow—tide should be on the lower side, going out. That means pura vida mae let’s gooooo.
Ate breakfast, I threw on boardshorts and ran out the door. No shoes.
Barefoot down the gravel hill, past the marina—a five minute walk to the beach.
Tan, orange detailed board under arm. Frog sticker, tribal sticker, sick board.
I love this board.
I’ve adopted this board.
Maybe I love it so much because the one I had before was so huge. I couldn’t hoist it under my shoulder. I could barely wrap two arms around it. And I couldn’t paddle my arms fast enough to propel my body, and that board, anywhere in the water.
Bati gave me a beginner board, to say the least—and I don’t blame him.
But this board—it’s smaller, and slick. And I can just barely fit it beneath my armpit. And if need be my other arm can wrap around the bottom for support. It’s perfect.
And I can stand on it—I can actually paddle, and move fast, and catch waves, and balance. I can maneuver my weight on the board, so I turn left, and ride the wave sideways. And have direction. And it’s sickkkk.
So I balance on the rocks, and gently lower myself into the high slash receding tide. I toss the board just a little, so that it’s safe in the height of the waves, away from the rocks.
I paddle out.
I’m the only one.
I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for.. but I’m looking for a wave. A nice wave. A wave that I could potentially catch.. aka breaking waves. The crashing waves. So when they crash right on top of me, I don’t have a choice. I’m going with it—it says go now. I don’t even move my arms, and the force of the wave projects me across the water.
So I caught many of those.
And I thought I was ready—for a real wave. A swell, not a crash.
And sure enough, one rolled in right behind me— it rolled and rolled, and built and built, so I paddled and paddled.
Am I ready?
I don’t know.
And right before it towered over me.. I started having second thoughts. It began to crash on the lower right hand side. Perfect.
Paddle, paddle, paddle.
The wave began to slip underneath, away — but I paddled harder, harder, leaning forward with the board, grasping for that last bit of wave with my flailing arms.
And then my body just knew.
I caught it.
I pushed the tip down just for a second, and slid down the front of the wave– I arched my back, pressure on the back of the board, and hoisted to my feet, knees desperately bent, sturdy. Until balanced.
And then I settled there, balanced between the surge of the wave, and my own body weight—it created some sort of steady velocity. And I stood up.
YEAH BABY. Riding the wave. A real wave. 😉
When my arms were finally tired and sore and silly, to the point of unnecessary clumsiness and wipeouts, I paddled to the deserted beach side.
You can see it from the common beach—a long, dark, smooth slab of dark sand. That curves around, like the edge of a bay. Wild leaves and jungle trees back it. Palm trunks bend forward, palm leaves outlined against a booming baby-blue sky. And behind, the clouds sit on indigo mountains. So beautiful.
I set my cream board on the black sand, and look back at my footsteps.
The only footsteps in the black sand.
That outline the curve of the bay.
Hands in the sand, booty in the air—downward dog.
^^and that’s how you do a day off.