Monday, August 16, 2010

Mexico - Chapter Three

Friday was not a fun day.  Our surroundings were still beautiful and the laid-back, easy going nature of the area was still present, but with Chris sick in bed there wasn't much to do but lay around. I didn't want to go exploring by myself, so while he stayed in bed for most of the day I entertained myself with the usual reading and writing and the added joy of people-watching. I sat on the hard iron patio furniture situated in the back of the inn which overlooks the point, about 200 yards away, where surfers come from all over the world to surf.

The very break where Chris would have been surfing the six foot swells if he wasn't curled up in the fetal position in front of the electric fan in our bungalow.

There were about six people out in the water, triple the amount I'd seen on the previous days, and I watched as they tried to ride some waves.

I particularly enjoyed watching one tall, lanky dude on a red long board because he was so terrible. It's like slowing the car down to stare at a road accident, or laughing when someone trips and falls - you just can't help yourself. He had a hard time staying on his board, even when lying flat on top of it, and I liked to guess which wave would be the one to send him flipping over.  Just paddling out to the surf point had been an ordeal for him and he must have been exhausted when he finally made it. He'd gone out into the water with a girl on a board much smaller than his and by the time she was half way out he had been knocked off his board twice. Which was, naturally, the reason I decided to watch him in the first place.  

At one point there was a stand-up-paddle-boarder out amongst the surfers also trying to get the perfect wave.He was staying in the bungalow in front of ours so I recognized him and was curious to see if he possessed any real wave skills - which his leathery, sun soaked skin made me believe he did.  So when I wasn't watching the Red Board Kook (a.k.a a beginner at surfing) I was watching him. I'd seen him catch one good wave which, with deft paddle maneuvering, he had ridden almost back to shore.  When he paddled back to the popular left surf break he managed to sweep into the shoulder of another nice wave.  At about the same time, the Red Board Dude decided that he, too, would try to get into the very same wave.  In surf lingo this is called "getting snaked" and it's a very bad and rude thing to do.  For instance, if you drop in on, or "snake", a local surfer in Hawaii you will more than likely get a hardcore beating, yelled at, and your things stolen. It is bad etiquette and you simply don't do it; but most beginning surfers don't know the unwritten rules of conduct before they go into the water, hence the name "kooks".

Red Board Dude apparently did not know the rules or simply did not notice Paddle Board Guy because the moment he tried to stand on his board was the same exact moment Paddle Board Guy was riding through the wave. This action caused them both to be knocked off their boards, sending them soaring down into the water, "diving for pearls". Soon after Paddle Board Guy came ashore and did not go back into the ocean.  In fact, he and his lady friend left the Inn after staying for only one night.  I like to think both situations are related; that they left because of too many kooks in the water.  But they probably just wanted to go to a hipper spot, like Acapulco.

Surprisingly, Red Board Dude - who was blissfully unaware that he had performed the worst surfing taboo possible - stayed in the water, hugging his board.  Later that evening I saw him go back for more. Then I realized that even though he doesn't know how to surf and he doesn't have a clue about surf etiquette, he does have courage. A courage that compels him to take a long, thin, light-weight board, scratch wax all over it, connect it to his foot, and then use it to swim out into the very active Pacific ocean.  An ocean so much more active than what I'm used to that when I was simply wading in the shore break a one foot wave smashed into me and shot me, on my ass, backwards, into the rocks. Red Board Dude has the courage to swim out towards those strong, tall waves that get increasingly bigger until he reaches the biggest one out there. And then he sits on his board with the shallow, jagged reef just feet away to his right, waiting for wave that will carry him over seriously deep water back towards the shore, where he will turn around and swim out for more. Deep water so clear that Chris tells me "you can see the manta rays swimming underneath you". And instead of thinking that being so close to mother nature's animals is romantic and fascinating, it terrifies me because I know that mother nature lover, Steve Irwin, was killed by a manta ray - stabbed through the heart. So Red Board Dude has this kind of courage. A courage that I do not possess, which keeps me dry and able to poke fun at his expense while he actually lives life to its fullest.  Instead of taking advantage of the fact that my husband is an adept surfer who would gladly teach me how to surf, I go on these amazing surf trips with him - to Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, and San Diego - and watch him from land; wearing a bikini that only gets wet from the pool, using my hand to shade my eyes from the sun. In the end, the jokes on me.

1 comment:

Coot said...

Gotta love the fetal position!