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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Further

It was the kind of day where it was tough to get out. No real break in the waves on the inside and a current from the north which swept your legs out from under you. A day where you kind of pick and choose your waves because you don't want to get caught back inside. But at the same time, every time I said: "OK, this is my last wave." And would then find myself on the inside, looking back and forth between the the shore and he breakers, I'd dip under another wave and decide: "OK, one more."

and then one more.

I was duck diving head high waves on the way back out but instead of cursing the decision I was like a mad man digging and digging while looking up at the sets like after the last turn in 400 yard hurdle race. My literal obstacles were lined up in front of me and it was time to sprint and just let all my training run it's course. And for the first time I yearned for the crush on the 6 footer on my back as I dove under the wave. That force shooting me down, trying to rip my board out from my hands but it was to no avail as I would surface with my arms hitting the water in a windmill pattern: digging further and further. Further outside and further inside of my desire.

In the lulls between my wave choices I sat on the shoulder watching the the two guys I had suited up with in the parking lot and was presently trading waves with on this sun broke afternoon. There's something about watching the people you surf with, it's appreciation and awe and inspiration. My favorite is to sit on my board, just far enough down the line as not to break the lip and get in the way, and right there in the sight line of the wave they pop and you have a front row seat. They go out of sight for a moment as you, yourself crest over the wave and then you wait. This is a delicate time for you're in the middle of a set and another few waves loom in the distance and chances are that you're not in position and furthermore it seems like forever that you're waiting and watching to see if they make the section but in reality it's seconds and then: bam! The spray comes from no where and you see the flash of the white board and then the black wetsuit. You smile and let out a hoot because you know that when it's you on the lip, they're there on that shoulder nodding, smiling and letting out yell.

In the parking lot, you lock eyes and nod. Today it was three guys who fought together, two of which who were friends before and one, a new one. The fact of the matter is that you may never see these people again but there in the water, on the sand and in the lot, there's an understanding of respect. You prove it; to yourself and to them. And the nods may lead to discussing the session, the break, or the weather system which has brought these waves or like today the nods will lead to nothing more than a mutual agreement that, true, you each went at it alone but for today you fought with equals.

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