03 August 2006

The K-Word

You know, I've said in the past that I do my best to refrain from using that four-letter word. I still won't use it, but today's events pushed me to the point of wanting to use it with impunity. It's days like today that make one completely understand why locals often take it upon themselves to police the lineups at their breaks. Since I was at RPB, there were no locals to do the policing. And that leaves you with one thing: carnage. Too many people. Too many boards. Too much anarchy. The session began with me talking to a guy from my home break. He was on his way to the hospital. There was a nice-sized gash over his eye. What happened? Remember what happened to my Tyler last week? That's what happened to his face this week. Some guy let his board go flying without caring where it ended up. It ended up hitting my friend above his eye, leaving a gash that was certainly going to need stitches. Okay, that was bad enough. My session subsequently ended with CYT being pulled/pushed back to shore by another surfer after some guy let his board fly. This asshole's board smashed into her hand while she was holding her board. She swears she's fine. I say she broke something. What pisses me off about both situations is that the guilty parties either didn't know or didn't care that they'd injured a surfer near them. WTF? Now look, we all know that you can't hang onto your board 100% of the time. You do get pitched off by the wave or slip of because your wax job is slick or whatever. It happens, right? What shouldn't happen is that people jump off their boards with this "I don't give a f#*k! I'm surfing, man!!!" attitude. You think it only happens here? Wrong. It happens all the time. It even happens to the best surfers in the world. Tamayo Perry got his skull cracked open by an idiot who was only thinking of himself:

Everybody had their froth on and it was one of the most crowded days I’ve ever seen Pipe. The circus is definitely in town but I was in a good rhythm, you know, playing it safe. I’d gone in and was on the beach when I saw Braden (Dias) get a sick one so I decided to go back out. I should have called it a day, but I was all gung-ho after I saw Braden’s wave.

Within five minutes of paddling back out, a twelve-foot beast pretty much cleaned everyone up. There was one guy in front of me, another guy behind me, and we were all scratching for the shoulder.
The guy in front of me was a younger kid, one of the little team kids, and I could tell he wasn’t paying attention. He was just worrying about himself. So I had to think about the guy behind me--and the jackass in front of me.

The guy in front just abandoned ship right in front of me as I tried to dip under this twelve-footer. His board got caught up by the wave and gathered speed until it hit me in the head. His rail cracked me super hard on the cranium and opened up a thirty-centimeter gash. I stuck my finger in my head and it went in like half an inch.

I want to emphasize that people are pretty careless out there right now. People are being sent here (Hawaii) without any kind of etiquette. There were so many guys out there without any clue or consideration for anyone else out there. They’re not learning the ropes the right way, which is sitting in the channel and observing.

Yeah, just let people know they gotta learn the rules before they just go jump into the frying pan. They risk their own life--and, more importantly, somebody else’s. Right now, there’s some kid with a giant hole in his board with my hair sticking out of it.

Dammit, people, pay attention. If you've got to ditch your board (or if you know your board is going to ditch you), do your best to either stay with it or keep it from injuring everyone else out there. If that means you take a pounding, then take it. In cycling, if you're the first person in a paceline (which is a line of riders who ride one behind another in order to save energy and be sheltered from the wind), you can't swerve out of the way of a hole and then let everyone behind you hit it and possibly crash. If worse comes to worse and you can't point it out quickly for the benefit of those behind you, then you yell to them where it is and you hit it (or hop the bike over it). As the first person in the paceline, you have the best chance of avoiding the obstacle and you're also the person who is best able to protect the other riders. In my mind, this also works in surfing. When I surf the Tyler, I'm very careful about the waves I take, especially when it's crowded. I know that if that thing gets away from me, it's going to do some damage to someone else. That's also the reason why I'm hesitant to surf without a leash. I don't mind swimming after my board. I do mind hurting someone with my board.

Once again, I've said little about the session. In terms of the waves, it was fine. The swell wasn't as powerful as I envisioned. However, there were shoulders everywhere. When the set waves rolled through, they were sights to behold. I got many chances to carve up and down the faces of these waves. The wave of the day for me was one I rode with CYT and a guy we met out there. The three of us got on that wave and seemed to be in perfect harmony. Everything clicked. The three of us were in different spots when the wave rolled through. He and CYT were a little north of me. When I looked north as I was paddling, I didn't see anyone going for the wave. But when I popped up, those two were right there. I'm not sure where they came from. The guy ended up sandwiched between the two of us. I was in the front. And we just rode it together, talking to one another as we went down the line. I pulled off when it looked like the shoulder was disappearing. CYT told me later that my timing was perfect as the wave did shut down and closeout. My pulling out when I did gave them time and room to end their rides easily. When we paddled back out, all three of us were chattering like happy little kids. I think I appreciate shared waves because they show me how far I've progressed since I started four years ago. I can control my board; I can surf with someone only inches from me and then end the ride without making the people next to me topple over like dominoes. I had to work at it though. I took baby steps, allowing my skills to improve before I actually started surfing, really surfing, at crowded breaks. I don't know what to think about RPB right now. People keep calling it a K-word spot. After what I saw today, I think those people might be right.


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