The Man In The Brown Striped Suit

I had a business meeting this morning (over the phone, but it still anchored me to the house) so I wasn�t free until about eleven, and then Diane wanted to go to Mama�s Fish House for lunch. So by the time i got to thousand peaks it was 1:30. When I got there the waves looked kind of small, but I pulled the JL11.0 off the funmobile and paddled out. There was no one out at the left reef where the regulars hang out. Imagine my surprise when I got out there and found wave after wave from waist high to overhead. No wind, glassy water, big smooth waves with nice consistent shoulders.

Why me?

I had an absolute blast, and my surfing improved 100% over the afternoon. I�m learning to move around on the board, slide the nose around to run along the face of the wave, move forwrd to accelerate, back to turn, skid the tail down the face, cup the paddle on the wave face and lean into it, curving the board around in a clean roundhouse move. It�s all starting to make sense and feel wonderful.

A lot of other folks showed up. When it�s good like this you don�t have turnover in the lineup�everyone comes and just stays. About 4:00 I noticed a couple of big manta rays jumping and slapping on the surface a short distance beyond the break. So I paddled out to take a look. Amazing critters, at least as big as my garage door. They finally got tired of me and submerged, I went back to the lineup and caought a few more waves.

One of the guys in the lineup said �Hey, look, it�s a bunch of Dolphins� and sure enough, about a hundred yards east of where the Mantas had been was two pods of Dolphins. I paddled out for a closer look, and the �pods� started moving towards me. One of them got to within five or so feet of me and I realized it was a shark. I thought it might be a black tipped reef shark until it turned alongside me and I could see the stripes and wide body of a tiger shark.

They tell me you can estimate the length by doubling the distance between the fin and the tail. If that�s correct these were between eight and ten feet.

I paddled back to the reef. The guy and his girlfriend who had first spotted the �dolphins� asked me what they were, so I told them. In seconds everyone in the lineup knew about it. About two thirds of the people headed in.

I caught two more waves, then caught a good sized wave that took me almost to the beach. I thought �I�m tired, the sun is going down, I just rode a wave within fifty feet of the beach, and there�s tiger sharks. Time to go home. �

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