Since I moved here to California from Hawaii about 5 years ago I haven’t surfed. Well maybe two times. It’s too cold the water, and too dark to make me get hooked on it here. I haven’t forgotten what it feels like to surf though, and I still remember a few epic waves and a few scary experiences. Here’s the story of my first wave~the first REAL one.
I spent a long time watching people surf waves before I ever paddled out. Even before I moved to Hawaii I’d scour the photos and writings of SURFER & SURFING magazines. My favorite was a piece or caption about searching for a place that “doesn’t really exist”.
Once in Hawaii, I’d sit and watch north shore surfers get some sic waves and get pummeled by them too. I’d marvel at the fact that a human could live through such beatings and also at how after the pummel they’d pop up somewhere and sprint back out for more. I’d hang out sometimes with big wave riders on the North Shore and trip on the whole scenario and the pearls of wisdom the Hawaiians would drop on haole big wave riders; things like “it’s only water brah”.
I don’t know what or who made me do it, but after 2 years in Hawaii I bought a used, 8’, fat, floaty gun shaped by Bushman and glassed by Selma. On the stringer they had written “Something Cosmic” in pencil.
I spent the next year and a half paddling out by myself, surfing, but not really surfing. I was really just dorking. I was like a baby trying to walk, catching white water, just trying to figure it out on my own; the balance, the timing, the dynamic. My God it’s dynamic, beautiful and scary. I took my licks, got held down, crushed, scrapped, dragged, scarred, always a little too late, a little too early, a little too caught inside. Have you ever heard a hundred sticks of dynamite explode under water? That’s what it sounds like when Laniakea comes down right on top of you in the impact zone. Everything implodes. You feel your organs shift and your cerebellum contract, you wonder if there will be any internal bleeding, but then it gets really quiet and you go up for air.
So anyway, I remember what I’m about to tell you clearly because the image of it is burned into the retina of my minds eye forever.
After two years of no longing or expecting, after all the licks, and thinking I should quit and realizing immediately that, that, was impossible, my wave came. My first real “blue water” wave, the sweet spot wave, the right spot at the right time wave, where you find for the first time that place that “doesn’t really exist”.
And you find yourself standing there, the sun low and at your back about to set, and you don’t remember standing up, but you are, and you are for lack of any other words receiving this gift. You know it, and you know the ocean knows it, because there is a certain *mana about it. Time has stopped and you are not moving a muscle because that might end the dream. You are totally in the pocket. You are looking down and you see only your left foot and the tip of your bushman and the reef; every detail of it, as it flies by beneath you.
You are consciously aware of how mesmerized you are and seeing it, but most of all feeling it and it’s friggin incredible. ~~~~~~~
*Mana is the concept of an impersonal force or quality that resides in people, animals, and inanimate objects.
*Mana is divinely-given power and authority. All of life possesses mana to some degree.