SURF OBSERVATIONS
Drop-Ins, Part 2 -- 5/19/01


Such a beautiful day for a bad event

The previous dayís session left me frustrated and unsatiated. I just had to get back in the lineup and gain some sort of redemption. Decided to head out early and snag some, this time with my longboard.

Conditions were again pristine, with hardly a whisper of wind. Surf was slightly smaller than the previous day, but there were still some sweet nuggets to be had.

I was doing much better on my longboard, catching some very long rides (to myself!) from the outside peak, through the middle section, all the way to the inside reef. I was able to carve and even had a little tip time (especially fun being the poser that I am).

Buddy soon came out and we had a great time of it with the fairly cool crowd. We gave our howzits to the locals, including Cameron, one of the best and most respected regulars out there.

After almost four hours, it was about time for me to head in so I started looking for a good one. Soon, one of those outside west peaks that I had so much success in snagging once again came my way. I took off deep and set myself up to ride it all the way in.

Just as I got to my feet I noticed a surfer taking off on the shoulder. I think I tried calling him off; Iím not sure. As he got to his feet, I drew close to him, trying to edge him off of the wave without making too much of an aggressive move.

But as I came down towards the trough, he took off above me. I took a casual line, with no intent of malice.

Suddenly in my periphery, I saw him pumping, trying to gain speed with his shortboard. Eventually, he got ahead of me, and started s-turning, and I lost speed over his wake. I was frustrated, but figured he might pull out after the juicy part of the wave eased off. Boy was I wrong.

This guy decided to throw a roundhouse and aimed his board straight back at me, actually bumping rails with me. It was then that I just snapped. I think all the unvented frustration from the day before just came to a head and I went ballistic.

The guy sort of pulled out of the dying wave. I only saw red as I leapt off my board, grasping at him in a moment of temporary insanity. Though I didnít grab the guy, I somehow managed to find his leash, which I jerked viciously. The guy fell off and his board slingshot back at me, missing my head by inches.

I forgot what I said, but it was something to the effect of, ďWhatís your problem, man! F*ckiní, just surf brah!Ē

I was so shocked by my reaction that I even surprised myself. The guy was an imposing fellow, outweighing me by at least 20 pounds. I remember wondering what I got myself into, but I didnít back down one bit.

Expletives were traded as we paddled back out, yelling all the way. Although I wanted to go in on that wave, I just had to paddle back out. Going in would have shown weakness--the gauntlet was thrown and I had to take a stand.

ďBrah, you wait--Iíll be waiting for you on the inside!Ē he threatened.

ďJust shut up and surf!Ē I yelled, as I made my way to the point.

Sitting in the lineup, I had time to evaluate my situation. The guy started talking with his boys, relaying the incident with them and pointing me out. Itís not that I was afraid--I just was bummed out by the fact that the righteous session turned ugly in one fell swoop.

I asked Buddy if he saw what happened. He saw the drop-in, but not the ensuing argument. Then I asked Cameron if this guy was a regular, but heíd never seen him before. For some reason, this confirmation that he didnít surf here often put me a bit more at ease.

I remained somewhat tense about the situation, but just wanted to get in because it was late. Of course, along came a lull with no wave to catch in. I started thinking about silly things like getting dunked, punch-outs, litigation, material damage. Just bad thoughts.

Finally after 20 minutes or so, a swell came through and I caught a wave in. Didnít know if the guy was still in the lineup or not. Didnít care.

Did I regret doing it? Sort of. The surf wasnít really worth fighting about and it blew all the stoke of the dayís surf (not to mention the rest of the week). Would I do it again? Again, maybe. Not as aggressive, for sure, but still I would have done something.

It wasnít a shortboard/longboard/bodyboard thing; it wasnít a local/nonlocal thing; it wasnít even a respect thing. To me, it was all about proper surf etiquette and positive attitudes (or lack thereof).

The ramifications of the spat remains to be seen--after it is a small island. But sometimes you just have to take a stand.

Aloha(?) from Paradise,
stickman


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