You stand up, you stand out. No two ways about it, if you paddle out on a stando, you're going to cause controversy. There will be a buzz in the lineup and you will be at the epicenter of it.
Yesterday I paddled out to surf a really good left freight training through our pier from the south. I guess little Miss Summer must have read yesterday's post and decided she'd hike her skirt up a little and see if she could win me back (it worked, I'm so fickle). Predictably, the spot was packed with every conceivable type of wave rider, old barnacle to bearded hand-plane hippy, all of us wanted a spot out there and even more, all of us were crazy to get a wave.
|Standing out among the giants.
It definitely wasn't harmonious. There were cut-off, cut-outs, hack-jobs and just plain thievery going down out there. The sponger riders were hovering on the inside like a horde of jackals at a Serengeti potluck, slurping up every little scrap of a wave and leaving nothing to the bodysurf vultures hovering around the perimeter. It was like watching sailfish go through a sardine bait ball, where the only thing that drifts into the deep are scales; there was not a single wave that made it to the shore unmolested.
Desperation makes you do weird things and with a summer that's left me wave starved, I thought it made perfect sense to insert my flesh and foam into that swirling mosh pit of a take off spot. All the chimpanzee-like jibber-jabbering came to a halt as I did the worst thing a paddlesurfer can do at a crowded spot- I went straight through the crowd right to the top of the peak. Basically, I cut the line. Eyes swung up at me from way down below, boogy boarders stopped scrabbling and went into a hover mode, placidly kicking their fins like ducks waiting for a wad of wonder bread, the group collectively inhaled. And then it came, one loud clear heckle from the alpha male, the head hyena, "Hey, John, did you bring your dust pan with that broom?". Man, that shook loose a tirade of comments, some barely audible, some loud enough for even the sunburned Arizona heat-refugees on the pier to hear just fine. My favorite was a nice, clear, succinct, "Get the f$#k out of here!". It was like a perfect Hemingway sentence, nothing more, nothing less needed- just one clean thought.
There's nothing like a well aimed vulgarity to clear the senses. And there was no hiding because like the Chinese say, "The nail that stands up gets hammered down". Your existence comes to one point, the way you react says a lot about who you really are, all of your trials and tribulations, the life lessons you've endured, how happy you are with your place in the cosmos. And man, it's all about to blow up on the world stage with that vicious, little wave riding mob, sitting front row.
I flipped around, paddled right up to the big dog, the alpha male and said loud and clear for everyone to hear, "Dave, when you say things like that to me, it really hurts my feelings.". Jaws dropped, eyes went wide, body board ducklings stopped kicking and another deep, collective inhale was taken. It was silent. WTF did he just say?
Which gave me just enough of a diversion to bag that little southern-hemi, pier sucker and ride straight to the beach. After all, if you are going to stand out, a little well-timed stand up never hurts.