Mixed Plate
The Fish

The Fish

It was early one Sunday morning in July, and I was doing my weekly solo dawn patrol to Ala Moana Beach Park. The forecasters had predicted a small swell, maybe three feet, but it wasn't showing at all.

I decided to paddle from Magic Island to Courts with my bodyboard, hoping to at least get some exercise out of the session. Courts is notoriously known as a break for longboarders, but I have never stressed about being the only sponger out.

Though small, the waves were really fun. I had gotten to know a few of the guys out there, just by face, and we shared the few waves that came through. I'm usually a wave monger, and so's everyone else at Courts, but the vibe early that morning was really good. I guess the realization that the swell was not coming made everyone back off and just hang loose.

About an hour into the session, I noticed a small fish darting around me. The fish was a bright yellow papio (Jack Crevalle), maybe three inches long, with vertical black stripes across its body. I was somewhat surprised since I'd never seen such a colorful papio like this in the wild.

Thinking nothing of it, I kept catching waves for a good half an hour more. Staying on the inside section I managed to find a little peak to myself, and made the most of the small wave situation.

Eventually, the crowd started to build and become more aggro. Surfing is my stress relief, but when the instrument of my release become the source of the problem, it's time to bail. I decided to make it back to Magic Island, using the quarter-mile paddle as aerobic exercise.

When I was halfway there, I noticed a yellow speck running in front of me. It was the fish! He was leading me the way a dolphin glides in front of a moving boat. I was truly amazed that he followed me that far. It looked like he latched onto my bodyboard, like I was a momma fish.

Just to see what would happen, I caught a short wave. When I pulled out, I peered under my board, and there he was, darting around me. He must've surfed the wave with me--he couldn't have swam that fast on his own. In fact, he must've been with me all that time I was at Courts!

When I reached the shallow reef just before Magic Island, I was at a loss for what to do. If I left the water, I felt like I was abandoning him. So I stayed a while longer, catching some small waves. Sometimes, I'd put my head under water and just watch him swim around me and my board--the early-morning joggers must've thought I was weird.

Finally, it was time to return to the "real world", and to the comforts of my wife and home. I caught a long ride at "Over the Rocks" and clambered upon the slippery boulders. A slight misty drizzle came down from Manoa, and the sun peaked through the clouds. Life felt good!

I wish I could turn this into a story of some profound, earth-shattering significance, but I can't. It was just a really nice morning, made extra-special by a little fish that decided to go surfing with me.

Neal "Da Sponge" Miyake