The ground shakes as the wave crashes against the cliff. There are huddles of surfers standing around. Should we do it? Should we? It’s a proving ground. A set approaches. Biggest of the day. It separates the kinaesthetic from the intellect. It would never be a question of should we. It was merely a question of how long do you want to live.
The best surfers come from places you never knew they were hiding. Down-low, as though a hibernating creature, just waiting for a swell this size. Off the rocks, off this planet. No way you’re going out. You stand there just fighting the urge to turn tail and run from the beach, but this is higher ground. There’s no where else you can run.
You watch a young guy go out. Adios, you can’t help but think. He paddles for it and is almost eaten alive by the crocodile teeth as they come chomping down on the face of the wave. He almost stacks it, but he sticks it. The crowd erupts into cheers and whistles. He’s done it! Champion!
The champion comes back in. One wave wonder, in a different context. His face is white and his hands are shaking. He drops his board and his knees buckle. He can wear the crocodile scales of victory for today. He rode that son of a bitch, right down the line and lived to tell us about it.