Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Piles of glass and light

The waves today were huge piles of glass. The day was bright and clear, but cold, with a hard wind whipping up whitecaps and blowing the sand in curtains across the beach.

I geared up, hiked my boat out to the far end of the beach near the point break, and pushed my way into the surf. The water was choppy and bottle green. The wind blew a hard mist off the waves, sending a hail of stinging droplets fiercely into my face. The waves were piles of shattered glass and the wind was blowing tiny splinters off into the sky, sending a spray of rainbow into the air.

I cannot even describe what it's like to be battling your way through the waves, passing through the slender opening in the gloss and foam, heading farther out towards the horizon where the big waves shudder and bend. The waves were big today, and tubing. I managed to stay out of the crush of the pile, the force of which is easily enough to blow you out of your kayak and leave you out at sea with the sharks, with your paddle and kayak and own meager self to look out for.

I am getting better. Today I caught the green of the wave, the smooth underside that glints like jelly in the sun. I rode it until it dissolved into fat marbles of water and air and became a gigantic aerated pile. I bounced and carved on this pile all the way in to shore, until the wave finally bubbled to nothing on the sand with a defeated hiss.

More than once after being picked up by one gigantic aqua curler, I shot towards shore at full speed and was delivered sometime later onto the beach. I was thrust up on the sand and left there like a piece of mail, sending a flock of tourists running. There's nothing like being far out to sea and riding one single wave all the way in. It feels like the planet's wildest public transportation system.

Riding out waves and bouncing on foam piles out there in the sun glints, cold gale, shark fins and rainbow sprays was some of the most fun I've ever had.

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