Monday, 12 October 2009

Timing






Turquoise turned to jade green which merged with a deeper grey-blue sliding into seafoam green fragmenting into golden yellow, duck-egg blue and a cool fathomless green, Pantone numbers swimming round my head as the eternal dance progresses as light particles penetrate the pulsating water. Mesmerised yet mindful of my locale I keep an eye on the horizon for the tell-tale darky, inky smears which bleed from the horizon warning of approaching rogue sets. As I scrambled down the rocky hillside from our campsite the beckoning, shimmering waves rolling in to the wide sandy bay were unruffled by wind and peeling left and right from several distinct peaks yet as I paddled out I realised the distance from which I had originally been bewitched was deceiving. These waves were bigger than anticipated, probably four to five feet, and powerful. On the outer rim of limited capability and experience, but if you time your paddle out with the lulls between waves and sit just seaward of their breaking point waiting for your moment then it’s no problem… except, that is, for those sly sets of waves which emerge at irregular, unpredictable intervals a foot or two bigger and harnessing even more of the latent storm energy than their more disciplined cousins.

As these six, maybe seven, foot waves, with faces soaring almost 12 feet above the prone surfer, pitch beyond vertical and the seething apex is launched out beyond the face the explosion as the two water masses collide impacts on all of my senses combining to produce a solitary survival emotion - fear. At the first signs of these deliquent undulations the skirmish begins. I paddle toward the horizon hoping that my timing is fortunate and I manage to scrabble over the back of the beasts traveling in packs of 4 or 5 increasing in size. To be caught just inside the breaking wave with it’s tumbling, towering, impenetrable wall of whitewater is to be spun and tumbled underwater, limbs flayed in unfeasible directions like a rag-doll until it releases it’s grip allowing you to surface 30 yards back toward shore gasping for air. Worse still is to get the timing absolutely, utterly wrong and for the pitching lip of the wave to smash onto you at the point of impact adding a wind-ing body blow to the mix….. But sometimes, and to be fair to myself more often now than not, the timing of the paddle out combines, to quote Hansen, with “Pace, power & technique” and I dive the nose of the board under the water a few feet before the lip crashes down, I dig deep enough with all the might I can muster to get under the impact turbulence and the centrifugal forces which are pitching the lip forward work in my favour and suck me under the wave and out of the back, to momentary safety before the next wave approaches…

The next few days the ferocity of the ocean subsided but we stayed on in Zarautz in the Basque region of Spain and Sofie and I played in the calmer waters together and enjoying the warm, still evenings and the awesome widescreen sky’s created as the ocean meets the mountains.

7 comments:

Jon said...

'Salt rises to my lips
But I taste not she.
For in this mindless, drifting moment
Man she becomes, and I the sea.'

Love to you both, Spongo X.

Jon said...

P.S. I'm sure I'm on the turn.

Steve Price said...

I'm not a surfer (yet), but your words certain make me wonder why I'm not. Beautiful writing Ed.

dave said...

Never knew a slab of wood mounted by a slab of man on the slabbish sea could be so slaboetic. Go Ed.

dave said...

Look forward to the article.

phil said...

Your timings not to bad, you are after all in the sea when there are waves! Jealous mate, check out my new board on facebook ! well excited.
Looks like your living a dream. love to you both xxxx

phil said...

hey there ed and sofie, thanks for the msg about my songs, glad you like em so much. if you let me know which ones i gave u (i forgot which)i can mp3 u the others, sorry got a spangled memory. thoroughly enjoying your writings, indeed perfect. x n y