25 August 2013

Flat Spell - Day 257

It's not safe. Out there.

Many of us are now hunkered down, weapons at the ready. We're told they're coming for us. Last night, as I huddled in my garage to protect my quiver, I could hear them. The sounds were . . . not human. The groans. The grunts. The uneven shuffling of feet that no longer walk with a human gait.

They predicted this years ago. We all laughed. I was one of the naysayers. I could not imagine a world where surfers would turn on each other, bloodthirsty and out of their minds because of an ocean that had gone flat. The ocean will never go flat, we said. There's always a wave somewhere. They tried to warn us, but we refused to listen. I've always considered myself an open-minded, thoughtful individual. At the same time, I tend toward skepticism when a statement strikes me as, well, idiotic.

I called him a kook to his face.

The ocean, it's not doing what it's supposed to do. Those aren't waves, not real ones, not waves worthy of dawn patrol or calling in sick at work. Not waves that make you long to be a better surfer. Not waves that trigger your stinkeye superpower when you see an unfamiliar face at your secret spot.

You see that person in the picture? He's a goner. He will never make it home, poor bastard. The sweepers were killed off months ago. It's hard to make your escape when you're running with a big ass board and a paddle. It's even harder to survive one of those attacks when you delude yourself into believing you have skills that you never took the time to learn . . . whether in the water or on land. That $1500 Naish is still in pieces on the beach at Latigo. I hear he tried to fight them all off with the paddle.

They found his head at Topanga.

I ain't going out like that. Every once in awhile, when the ankle slappers roll through, we make a preemptive strike. But we have to do it as a group. And we can only get one wave. That's it. One. No more. We take turns. One person paddles out while the rest of us stand guard, ready to either fight them off, if we somehow outnumber them, or make our escape when we hear their approach. The person in the water knows the rules: Stay close to shore. Keep your eyes and ears open. One wave. Be ready to run.

That guy I'm seeing on the cam is already dead. I'm sure he knows that, but doesn't care. He will get his one last wave, and it will be over.


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