Friday, January 16, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
On the Water
My surf board was white. It was long and blunt, too. And it was a lot better than the board I rented for two days. But I was equally unprepared on the surf of Honoli’i with “my board” as I was with the rental.
With the help of the Garmin 705 I managed to find every paved road in Hilo County and a few more within 50 miles. One day while under the guidance of the Garmin I turned onto a road that seemed fruitless, but alas made a swooping turn through the jungle and under a bridge before the road suddenly became populated by lifted pick ups, SUVs, and people carrying surf boards and those out just to be seen. I rode by and looked over the precipice to see the surf crowded with little people on surf boards. Hmmm, that looks fun…
When my bike and I arrived back at our quaint little Hawaiian rambler set 400 feet up the hill, I had a mind to find the surf shop and figure out what was what in the surf world at Hilo. I found out very quickly how it worked. What you do is you get a surf board from somewhere (decline when they advise you to take lessons), tie the leash to the right foot if you’re “normal footed” and proceed to make a total fool of yourself. During my first “session” I sat on the beach with my leash tied to my right foot and watched as the seasoned veterans made there way out to the surf. Awh, easy. I walked into the water like a wily pro, got the board wet, jumped on and got thrown by the incoming white water at least three times. I finally made it to where the surfers were waiting for the waves and fell off a couple more times in perfectly calm water. From my perch the shore looked awfully far away and the water felt –hmm- deeper than the 25meter long, 4 foot deep pool at the gym. Then I maneuvered around a little bit and acted like I knew exactly where the next wave was going to be, which was 10-20 feet outside of where everyone else was... despite my apparent knowledge everyone stayed where they were, perhaps because of the farmers tan, but likely equally deterred by the fact that I was doing more swimming beside the board/under the board than I was straddling the board like a beached whale.
With time (over the course of several weeks) I managed to figure out how to catch the waves, although when I got to the part where I was to stand up the front of the board began a frightful pearl and sent me head over hills and swirling below trying to remember if this was an area with rocks and whether I was actually going to resurface in the next minute… Eventually I learned that if you can get just one hand on the board as you fall off you can be above the surface within a matter of moments, but if not, well… you learn hard.
Taleb, Nassim. The Black Swan. New York: Random House, 2007.