Try, Fail, Repeat: A short story

It’s all in the turn…

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

He shut the door quietly behind him and thought for the hundredth time ‘Not much point in being quiet here when I’ll wake her when I start the truck’. The draw of the dawn patrol was too strong to care, though.

In ten minutes, he reached the water’s edge and braced himself for the cold. He could see the dudes were already in. Feeling amped, he pushed through the waves into the swell. Big one starting today. He began the paddle out.

The first couple of waves were ankle busters, too small to ride. It was all going to mush. Not much riding to be done today.

Then the swell came in and he got dumped a couple of times. Tombstoning is no fun when your arm is being dragged out its sockets by the surfboard leash. He began to feel very, very tired.

Waiting, waiting. As he knelt on the surfboard, waiting for a decent wave, he could feel his surfer’s knots swelling on the backside of his leg, below the knee. ‘I’m getting too old for this game’, he thought.

Then, as he was baling, yet again, duck diving under a breaking wave holding the surfboard close to his body, he saw the next wave turn over on the sandy bottom. His heart began to beat faster.

Up! Catching the wave, he glided down the line, picking up speed along the barrel, riding the ideal wave all the way to the white-water shore.

The mood of the waves had changed. It was pumping now, and so was he. laughing to himself, he began thinking he might skip work and keep going for a few hours.

Then he saw the bomb. This baby was huge. He decided to go for it.

As he did, he could sense another dude behind him, so he decided to do some cutting off. He pulled infront of the other surfer, who was also going for it and was closer to it. He stole the wave and just heard the guy behind shout angrily, ‘Sketchy, mate!’.

OK, so he was a wave hog, but as he perfectly slotted into the hollow of the barrel, he thought ,‘Macking’. The euphoria erased all thoughts of anyone else from his conscience. ‘This one’s for me’, he yelled into the wave.

He went for the drop as the first part of the ride. Then he was inside the green room…speeding along the barrel.. feeling the juice of the wave, the power of the pocket of the barrel. He was no longer a ‘jake’, ‘a kook’, a ‘paddlepuss’. He’d made it!

Stoked now, he felt himself locked into the wave and time stopped. Then, all too soon, he was spat out of the barrel, an essential element of the wave’s spit.

As he made it to the shore he stood up and looked back. The swell was still there. The dudes were in the section waiting for the next good wave. And he had that sweet moment of ‘Should I stay or should I go?’

‘Quit while you’re ahead, mate’, he thought. And he lifted his board and turned and walked triumphantly back to the truck.

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