Sunday, December 27, 2015

the last book I ever read (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, excerpt six)

from Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan:

I took to surfing Harbor Mouth in the black of night, after work. The tide had to be high, and the swell good-sized, and a moon could help. Even so, it was a fairly insane thing to do. It was basically surfing blind. And I usually wasn’t the only one trying to do it. But I thought I knew the break so well, after a while, that I could feel—from the shadows, from the pull of the current—where to be, which way to go, what to do. I was often wrong, and spent a great deal of time hunting for my lost board in the shallows. That was the reason it had to be high tide. The lagoon inside Harbor Mouth was broad and shallow, with sharp coral covered with cruel sea urchins. In daylight I knew the little rivulets in the reef that one could float down, eyes open underwater, chest full of air for maximum floatation, skimming over the purple urchin spines, even at lower tides, in pursuit of a lost board. At night, however, one could see nothing underwater. And a search for the faint glistening ellipse of one’s board, bobbing in the lagoon among all the bathtub chop dancing in the glare from the seafront streetlights, could take a while different type of eternity from the one glimpsed in the tube. Giving up was not an option, though. I had only one board, and I always found it.

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