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Thursday, June 28, 2012

6.28.12 Bad Vibes at Overhead La Bocana

Because my board was still at Piri's Ding Repair, I was on my buddy Chamba's 5'11" BR (Brazilian shaper).  It is, without a doubt, the smallest board I've ever ridden down here.
I paddled out, counting nine other heads and got out without a problem.  I got stared down by a couple of guys the majority of the paddle-out.  I waited a bit on the outside before making my move to the take-off zone. 

A stark contrast from yesterday, I caught my first wave within five minutes of sitting.  It was a big and bowly left.  I pumped hard before it sectioned off, then rounded the courner around the explosion.  I was rewarded with a look at big foamy wall that was on the verge of closing out.  I jumped over the falling section, amped.

I caught my second wave about ten minutes later.  This one was smaller, but still about shoulder-high.  I pumped down and led my trajectory up the wave with my leading hand.  I foamed out at the top, meaning I slid the fins out due to the aerated nature of the foamy water and flopped onto my back. 

I was thrilled to not go over the falls.

I heard a guy paddling towards me, speaking loudly in Spanish.  I only heard "Gringo".  I ignored him. 

He paddled around me and sat within six feet of me and said:

"Los turistas que se vayan al Sunzal" Tourists should be at Sunzal.  Sunzal is the wave on the far other side of the beach that is a slow lazy right unless the waves are massive.

I again ignored him.  He spoke out more loudly and said:

"Andate, Gringo" Go away, Gringo.

I broke my silence and said to him: 

"Cara de Gringo, me ves?" Does my face look like that of a Gringo's?  This was my attempt at very subtle humor as a way to diffuse the situation.

He gave me the obvious answer, yes.  To which I replied:

"Yo soy de aqui" I'm from here.  He asked from where and I said "Santa Tecla, Colonia Utila".  As though to call my bluff he asked me where the Utila Colony (neighborhood) was and I told him it was at the south tip of Santa Tecla.

He asked me how long I'd been out of the country and I lied.  I told him three years when in reality I just entered my seventeenth year of US residence. He said:

"Apues no sos de aqui" Then you're not from here.

I again tried humor to diffuse the situation.  "Pero les mando remesas a los que estan aqui" But I send remittances (monthly Western Union wires that is sadly the biggest part of El Salvador's economy).

He chuckled at that last one, then with a trace of a smile on his face, said:
"Pero a mi no me las mandas" But you're not sending them to me.  One last ditch effort to get on this guy's good side led to me saying:

"Como te las mando si no tengo tu direccion?" How can I send them to you if I don't have your address?

He paddled away, saying only: "Yo he estado surfeando aqui por 24 años" I've been surfing here for 24 years.  I had a couple of lines in my head which I thought were funny, but this guy was not in a good mood so I stayed mum.

He went and told his buddies that I wasn't from here, but I sent money to people who lived here.  I didn't hear their response. 

He kept mouthing off to his buddies about how he was so tired of the locals being overrun by Gringos. 

I looked at my options.  I could go in like a little bitch or I could see if I could catch more waves by continuing to ignore him with probably a remote chance of getting pounded by Bocón (Mouthy) and his buddies.  I stayed put. I figured going in would only strengthen his resolve to harass other people with his intimidation tactics.

I heard him tell his buddies to burn me on any wave I catch (I was sitting in the prime take-off spot, though there is room for plenty of guys there).

He and his buddies were sitting farther away as they paddled around for waves while I stayed where I was.  I overheard random, unfriendly things.

I was bummed out.  I'd understand his frustration if I was burning people, but I never once did.  I would be lying if I said his tactics didn't affect me, I didn't catch a wave for a good half-hour and I was lamenting his resentment towards me. 

A big left came which I was too inside of to take off.  Had I attempted to do so, I would've received a thick lip to the neck and almost certainly eaten it hard.  At best, I would've gotten batted around, then stood up and have to bail because the section would have been way past me.  That didn't stop the guy in the white rash guard and his friends shouting together in harmony, "CULERO!" (FAGGOT!).  They wanted me to take off because they knew I'd get throttled.

Eventually, I caught a chest-high left which closed out quickly.

Then, I caught a monster overhead right and I was laughing while on the wave at how over-responsive the tiny board I was riding was.  With just a slight weighting and unweighting, the board careens hard with no delay.  I hit it twice, then kicked out.

My tormentor went in, but he sat and spoke to a woman who was taking pictures for a good twenty minutes, waiting for his carpool to go in.
I caught another right, about shoulder-high and pumped a couple of times before compressing hard into a roundhouse cutty.  I had a little too much weight on my front foot, but took my foot off the gas in time to retain most of my speed.  I smacked the foam decisively, but the fins gave out on the board.  I'd done a roundhouse cutback tailslide, which would be a lot more impressive if I'd recovered.

A head-high left came and I caught it.  I pumped hard, trying to make it around the exploding whitewash, blinded once by it.  When I finally did I saw a weak wall.  Bummer.

I caught a right, took off pretty straight, bottom-turned hard and absolutely SMASHED it.  I descended again and hit it, thought not quite as hard.  I kicked out.

On my last wave, I got burned by an actual local, not a capitalino, an actual local.

The Copa Quiksilver starts soon and Punta Roca will no doubt be inundated by rising and fading surf pros (no 'CT guys) soon.  Tomorrow will be my last chance to surf it relatively uncrowded, maybe.  Pando is getting married tonight, but he said he's taking the day off tomorrow so we can surf.  I will let him choose where he wants to be.  $5 says it's Punta Roca.


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