En el stylo del Leper... may you paddle again.
Roll up to the beach just as the sun's setting. Grab the trunks, jam them on and throw on the wetsuit jacket- no time for the full suit wiggle, it'll be dark in fifteen minutes. Pull the 9'1 out, wrap the leash around my ankle and grab my paddle. Bust a little hoot as I hit the sand and see the first set smack the bar- it's glassy and FIRING!
Got to hurry, it's getting dark. Shuffle (always shuffle, always shuffle) into the beach break, time the backwash and knee paddle it towards the whitewash. A little chilly but not too bad, maybe 60 degrees? Pop to the feet, power over the first line of whitewater, scoot over the second. Damn, caught inside- here comes the set. First wave, four foot- just scratch over it. Second wave... not going to make this one, maybe six foot and.... whoa! Here comes Elizabeth, pushing it over the ledge and taking the drop. Yes- that's RAD! Elizabeth, CHARGING... little hoot for her as I paddle into the whitewash and watch her go speeding by. Here comes the payback for that front row view; five foot high pile of angry water coming straight at me- no way I can pop over this one. Quick look behind, nobody there- time to bail. Hope that leash plug repair job holds.
Sweet, no problem. Reel the board back in. Time to get moving- this is not the place to hesitate. Pin the paddle to the board with my chest, chin down onto the deck and start digging deep, move water, move water. Man, this board moves fast. Sprint paddle over a five footer and, cool, I'm in the clear.
Up to my feet, scan the break. Dang, there's a lot of heads out here. At least twenty guys and a cute Japanese bodyboarder girl. It's going to be tough getting one with everyone out here but it's getting dark fast, might as well put all my chips into play and head to the main event. Paddle over to the pier and roll the dice. Getting dark now- maybe it wasn't meant to be. But, damn, there's some good looking ones coming through, aren't there?
There goes Kyle Knox, wham, wham, wham... air... homeboy can surf. Little movement off the end of the pier.... little bit of a shadow on the water, nobody's seen it yet. Start moving to the north, don't paddle too fast- no sense in getting everybody all riled up. Oh yeah, this one's a shifter- it's going to crab sideways up the beach and peak up down the line- this one's all mine. Start paddling a little faster- angle towards the thick part- pick up the pace to hit it right when it's getting steep. It's starting to stand up, the wall's starting to stretch up the beach- wow, maybe this one's not going to do it. Looking like the biggest one I've seen- and looking like a big close out. Getting thick right in front of me. Do or die time, pull the trigger or paddle over the top- what's the call?
Quick look to the right- nobody's going for it. Let's do this! Crank on the Kialoa. Crank, crank, drop the stance, bend the knees, crank- getting hung up in the lip here... this could be bad. Quick look left, impossibly walled- is this a bad decision? Crank, crank... finally clawing myself over the ledge- guys hooting me in from down the line, can't back down now, got to charge it!
Full weight on the front foot, point of no return. Start dropping in, don't stare at the nose or you'll watch it stick right in, pearl up to your knees and get pitched out onto the flats. Stick the drop! Yes! Thank you Stamps for that little bit of nose flip! Out onto the flats, take a look down the line... oh shit! It's squared itself up to the bar- nowhere to go- way to deep into this thing and there's no way out- I'm gonna get creamed.
Unless.... move now! Do it, get the legs jamming. A quick half pump off the bottom, let her drift up into the face- there might be one little seam in this thing, one chance to run for safety- impossibly small and shutting down quickly but maybe... maybe... yes! Turn down a little, easy, easy- get your toes shifted onto the inside rail- now let her run!
No time for turns- just hang onto that rail. No way! It's too steep, there's no way I can hold this line- board's getting all squirrely, tail's starting to slip out. I am hauling ASS. But... I'm dead... any minute now I'm blown off this thing. Wait, wait... why do I keep making it? Holy shit- I think I'm going to squeak through this- hold on, hold on. Guys scratching for their lives down the line and just making it over the shoulder in front of me. Lip line whizzing past my head, it's so dark now that the whole wave looks like a big black blob unwinding in front of me... no way! I'm out... straight through the guts of the beast- I made it!
Release the inside rail and drop down onto the flats- wow, there's still more wave here. Crank down on the tail and feel the fins grab, flex and project- I'm going to tag this thing a couple times before it winds down. Up into the lip, look down, look down... see where you want to go. Wham! Feel the bottom of the board connect with the lip but I'm already flying down onto the flats again. Drop the knees and crank it through another off the bottom, off the top repetition... man this feels good. Wave starting to peter out... waist high now and, damn, I'm in front of the hotel- what a killer wave. Drift over the back. It's really dark now- paddle back out for more? Nope, sometimes all it takes is one good one. There will be more good waves- but not tonight. Glide up onto the sand. Homerun baby. See you in the morning.