Bit -- 10/10/98

Slasher Bud

The North Shore fired on Thursday, but dropped off quickly. By the weekend, the leftovers werenít worth the crowd hassles, so Buddy and I decided to head east for some tradewind-augmented swell.

Got to P-Rock well before dawn and found stiff onshores over some crumbly peaks. Good enough? Of course!

We quickly suited up in the breezy conditions. Buddy decided it was cold enough to give his brotherís wetsuit a try--a flashy yellow and blue shortie. I had my standard neoprene shorts with a longsleeved UV polypro jersey.

During the initial paddle out, Bud suddenly stopped in his tracks and complained that he got "bit" by a Portuguese Man O War. These floating blue bubbles have long, stinging tendrils that are irritating at best, and downright dangerous at worst. They are much more prevalent on the windward shorelines where the trades blow them into the surfline.

Bud seems to have an affinity for always getting stung, and this time was no exception. Just grazed him in the arm he said; he shook it off and we continued paddling out.

The surfing session was, for the most part, pretty unremarkable. There were some moments when the winds eased, creating some semi-glassy conditions. Otherwise, it was more like victory at sea.

Bud caught some decent ones on his 6í 3". I didnít see many of his waves--was sitting outside for the better part of the session. But I did see him pull off an airdrop takeoff on an overhead peak. I still donít know how he can handle that puny board so adeptly.

Despite being rather limited by the conditions, I managed a few fun ones on my bodyboard. There was one memorable wave in particular. We were cruising in the lineup when a turtle popped his head out nearby. "Look at the turtle," Bud exclaimed. I saw it, but also noticed that just a few yards behind was a nice peak. I quickly swung around and kicked into the wave. Took off a little late, but into one of those rare moments of smoothed-out conditions. Got a bit ahead of the wave, so I did a slow cutback right into the hook. Drove into the oncoming shorebreak section, then put myself into backflip mode just to get the weightless sensation. Bailed just before landing in the trough.

An hour before leaving I remembered sitting in the lineup, patiently waiting for a wave on my board. I glanced down and noticed that my jersey was hiked up over my love handles. I casually thought, "Hmmm, better put it down before I get 'bit' by a Portuguese Man O..." Gaaak!!! Too late.

A Man O War had already wrapped itself around my left torso, stinging my lower back. I tried pulling off the invisible tentacles, but only compounded the problem by bringing it to my frontside, zapping my soft tummy. Buddy sat nearby, concerned yet amused at my folly. Just one of those things you gotta deal with. Never even saw the troublemaking buggah!

So we kept surfing in the marginal conditions. A regular wearing a Gath helmet was out with us, along with this older, local type bruddah doing some neat paipo-styling on a bodyboard. It was a pretty mellow lineup, with everyone catching their share.

Slowly by slowly, I started feeling some odd discomfort. The base of both legs adjacent to my groin started aching, and it even spread to a twang down my left leg. Did I stab my bat-tail into my abdomen on one of my backflip attempts and hurt something?

It got to the point where I was even passing up waves in fear of hurting myself more. And for me to pass up waves is something else.

Didnít want to sound like a p*ssy, but I finally told Bud about my pains. "Sometimes a bad Man O War sting can affect your nerves, even the glands," he said.

Immediately, I felt relieved, knowing that it would pass in time. In fact, I got all my wave-catching motivation back and just went for it despite the discomfort. Eventually, it was all but forgotten.

When I went home, I showed my wifey my battle scars (or rather battle welts), hoping for a little sympathy. "Where? I can't even see it," she honestly replied.

Shucks, not even a little bit of pity for getting 'bit'.

Aloha from Paradise,