The Search – by Clif

This is a story I heard, dude, and I tell it so you know what surfing is
really like. You’ll be stoked. Trust me – I’m the full bottle on this. It’s the honest-to-God truth or I’ll eat my words.

The hardcore Waterman was playing with fire. The secret spot was sunny, offshore and goin’ off. Sick pits brah. He threw a shaka to the crew. The waves were fully sick, gnarly, filth, and death pits. Big as mountains. It could have been two foot bigger. This was more than a storm in a tea cup. If he didn’t make the take-off his goose was cooked. He’d bite the dust. But he’d take it with a grain of salt, cop it sweet. Ahh, only a surfer knows the feeling.

He knew he was away with the fairies and his head was in the clouds. He used to rule these waves. He would have competed, but he was a soul surfer. Those were the days. A legend. A hellman. Riding on the sheep’s back. When he was flash as a rat with a gold tooth. He’d been wheeling and dealing but he’d taken a wrong turn. He was now heading
down a blind alley.

He’d gone the extra mile, he’d been in it for the long haul, but this was the end of the road. It was a dead end, he’d hit a brick wall. The Search was over. Now he was running on empty. There was nothing left in the tank and he was living off the smell of an oily rag, doing it on a shoestring and borrowed time, tightening his belt to make ends meet. Anything for the green room and the warm waters of Mother Nature’s womb.

He’d gone along for the ride. His waves were the biggest, longest, heaviest, gnarliest. He’d been down this road before, and now this was throwing good money after bad.

He was meant to be as tough as old boots, a local. Instead he was paddling around like a headless chook. As if he were the one with a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock. He knew he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. You didn’t have to be a genius to figure that one out, but there’s none so blind as those who don’t want to see. The lights were on but no one was home anymore.

The winds of change were blowing, a breath of fresh air, a real little ray of sunshine. The best thing since sliced bread. Well, better than a slap in the face with a wet fish. There was more going on here than met the eye. He had never been one to let sleeping dogs lie. He was going to slay his dragons.

He paddled flat-out like a lizard drinking, and made hay while the sun shone: he wasn’t here to fuck spiders – but the shit had hit the fan. The situation was critical. It was the name of the game, he said, an idea whose time had come. It’s a mug’s game.

He was up shit creek without a paddle. He was perched up there like a shag on a rock, talking through his hat, the same old story. Reinventing the wheel, putting the cart before the horse and then closing the stable door after said horse had bolted. Every cloud has a silver lining, he thought. But he was barking up the wrong tree.

What goes up must come down. He toppled from his stick. Cowabunga! At the end of the day we’re not just here to make up the numbers, nothing ventured nothing gained, it’s all for one and one for all so he’d give it his best shot and not die wondering. All the same, he was hanging on for grim death. No bottom-hand turn today. Over the falls he went. It’s not over till the fat lady sings. Though it was true the wave had him by the short and curlies. What a wipe-out.

I’m fed up to the back teeth with life. You wouldn’t know a good thing if it leapt up and bit you, he thought. You’ve got a hide as thick as an elephant and you’ve been walking a fine line. It’s the last straw. I’ve been writing in pencil, now I’m going to make my mark. It was a lonely impulse of delight.

He was shitting bricks. But threw caution to the winds, went ballistic and stayed in the dark depths. He’d scored a bull’s eye. Hit the mark. He was dead meat.

It wasn’t a pretty picture. But that was par for the course. Blind Freddy could have seen it coming, but he was like a moth to the flame, lamb to the slaughter, lemming over the cliff.

Well, it was all in a day’s work and it’s an ill wind that blows no good. The water rushed into his lungs. They’d write about him but they’d be pissing in the wind.

– Clif

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