Sunday, December 11, 2005

Two sesh Sunday

Upon awakening this morning, I felt rested and healthy. The strain of bacteria, unknowingly picked up in the ocean nearly 4 weeks ago, which has perplexed my immune system, seems to have nearly abated. This thing has been hanging around in my sinuses and lungs for so long I think I am going to give it a name. It has impressed me with its endurance and clever adaptation strategies. But, it has been a parasite, stealing my health for its own benefit and making my life less fruitful. So, I think I'll call it Barnacle George (BG). Nice knowing you BG, see ya later, never invited you in, don't ever come back.

I begin the day with tai chi and some yoga. Waves are on my mind. The grand dance with the ocean waves occupies my thoughts. I visualize catching a big wave, standing up, maintaining balance. The walk has become ritualistic. The spikey brown seeds that fall off some of the trees does not slow me down. The pain is trivial. I pass an Aussie with long curly blonde hair, carrying two short boards he says: "Goin out to catcha few?"


Get to the lava rock shore, carefully step down on to the reef and wait. A couple waves come in, put the board into the ocean, lay on it and push off. Then I am paddling, paddling, paddling... I think it took me 25 minutes to get out. Sheesh! Surfing is constantly testing resolve. My attitude is to just keep going. Paddle, paddle, paddle... finally make it outside. Sit on board and chill. Watch the waves. They are like puzzles that do not want to be solved. One has to be in the right spot at the right time with the right wave.

Over thirty minutes pass before I get my first wave. I catch several more under the blue azure sky in front of the hotel in the clear blue water. A kind wave takes me in to the shore and I step up on the reef.

Bri and I decide to meet in the water at 3:30. This is my second sesh. Once again, the paddle out is difficult. It is like Poseidon is got it in for me. I persist like Barnacle George. Eventually, the ocean lets up, takes a ciggarette break or something and I make it to the outside. Moments later I see Bri paddling out on his Gotcha 9 footer. He's paddling easy, relaxed and has a smile.

"Hey what's up?" I say.

"Yo Mike!"

"Did you have an easy paddle out?"


We paddle towards the hotel away from the middle. The waves pass by underneath us. we are hundreds of yards from the shore and cannot see the bottom. For most of this sesh we go for waves that do not want to be ridden. These waves are tricksters, they jack up, back down and shift as if the reef beneath them is moving, maybe it is made of jello. Bri catches a long one and paddles back out quickly. I manage to catch a big one, it walls up and starts to close, before I can do anything, it crashes on me, throwing me off the board and sending me deep. I pull my self to the surface with the leash. Take a breath, WOW! That was nuts. I hear Bri whooping it up. "Nice one!"

He's sitting on his board, scanning for waves on the horizon as I paddle up. We go further out, trying to get a big one. The ocean does not acquiesce. I paddle inside a bit and catch another decent sized wave, just like the other one, it walls up and starts to close out. This time I am ready and grab the wave with my hand, cut in to it and slip inside the wall of water before it can crash on me like an avalanche. Much gentler exit this time.

The horizon gets closer to the sun, time to catch a ride back to the shore. I paddle inside and catch one. It takes me almost the whole way in. My arms are tired as I take the last strokes and then I am standing on the reef, stepping softly and then climbing up the lava rock with my big board carefully balanced on my shoulder.