I attended Pando's wedding the night of the 28th. The photographer happened to be Mr. Red Shirt from my first session at Punta Roca. Chamba introduced me and told him about my getting hassled at La Bocana. He told me to drop his name, Ceibón, and to let them know that if they caused me any more grief, they would get their asses kicked. Saying something like this to someone is not my style, but it felt good for a well-known local to have my back. I will drop his name only if I absolutely need to. I don't really see that happening though.
Chamba was saying we should all paddle out at La Bocana and they would be enforcers. Chamba said we could bring a surfer who is involved with one of the big gangs here and we could watch the city boys turn ghost-white. Or we could bring the local who has, so far kicked two Brazilians' asses for doing what an alarming percentage of what Brazilian surfers do, snaking people on waves.
I picked Chamba up and we parked in the usual spot. While I was lathering on the sunscreen, Bob Rotherham walked by with his dogs. He is the father of the break. He established Punta Roca Restaurant in the 1970's, fell in love and married a local girl and together they created the best surfer in Salvadoran history (possibly in Central America).
One of my earliest memories is playing He-Man with Jimmy when I was four years old. We followed our passions. He picked up surfing and is at a world-class level. I continued playing with action figures but never broke into the championship rankings.
I asked him if he remembered me. "Soy el hijo de Cynthia" I am Cynthia's son.
He said, "Mike?". Confusing me, presumably, with my mom's last long-term boyfriend, a college teacher from New Jersey who lived here to help train the police force (or so he said, who really knows...)
I corrected him and told him it was good to see him. I told him about my He-Man memory and he laughed.
We walked out to the point and Chamba remarked it would be tricky getting in the water with this low a tide. Punta Roca is a rocky point, hence the name. It is challenging to surf there without getting your feet cut up. You must deal with slippery rocks. If you slip off of one with one foot, half of your body accelerates down with it and you can easily slam your foot in a barnacled crevice, or worse, fall down on one.
As you reach the water, the dynamic changes. You'll have a hydro-cushion if you eat it, but you can't see where you are stepping. This is how I banged up my shin on the first session. Partial relief arrives in the form of whitewater bearing down, as it allows you to unweight a bit and put some of your body weight on your board. Paddling out and going in is an art form. It is VERY difficult to not look like a kook, especially while going in.
Eventually, when you feel the water level is deep enough, you can take the leap of faith and start paddling. At every other spot I've surfed, I paddle straight out. Here, you paddle diagonally. Out, but also sideways and away from the point so as to avoid the rocks.
I did a good job and had just a tiny scrape on one the fins on Chamba's board. After the first shallow duckdive, I took a quick look at it and it was undamaged.
Chamba told me, as we paddled out, that in April of 1994 a Gringo paddled out at 30-foot Punta Roca and rode a wave from the point to the pier. This is approximately a kilometer of riding. Chamba recognized him and his son. I think he told me they were Costa Rican. His son was in town for the Copa Quiksilver and was surfing well.
My first wave was just a sliver of a peak. It didn't link up to a shoulder, so I kicked out.
Costa Rican legend's son was sitting outside of me when this gem of a wave came through. He was paddling hard for it and I mirrored him, about ten yards inside (point-wise) of him. He let out an exasperated yell that he'd missed it. I paddled for it as Chamba cheered me on, stomped down and descended. I bottom-turned for what seemed like an eternity, then compressed into a hard snap. I'm not sure what happened. I was on Chamba's 5'11" and either the fins slid out unexpectedly or my momentum tumbled me off the back, but I didn't make it.
Chamba told me later that day that the maneuver was good, I just didn't complete it. I told him I know I could've made that turn on my board.
A long time passed before my next wave arrived. The waves were inconsistent and Legend Jr. was catching a lot of the ones that did make it.
I lost track of Chamba, as he was content trying his luck on the inside. I looked and couldn't recognize his face in the line-up. I figured he must've gone in.
I caught a wave that this tatted guy with a Grencho accent, someone I recognized from sessions past, burned me, knowing full-well I was on the wave. He almost dropped in, literally, on me. I faded a bit and whistled. He kicked out and I attempted to salvage the wave with a pocket snap, which allows the rider to get up the wave quickly into its speedy maw. My lack of foam again hurt me and I couldn't set my fins down the line. I faded off the back.
About fifteen minutes later, I caught one deep. During my first pump, I noticed two boils in the wave's path. I climbed up the wave and hung out near the lip, bypassing the boils, stomped back down on my front foot and did a speedy backside floater. I jumped off the falling lip and went for a quick hit, concerned I was getting a little close to the shallow rocky bottom. I kicked out the back, amped.
I had decided being out in the tropical sun for inconsistent, mostly mediocre waves (for ES standards) wasn't worth it and went in. I must say I absoulutely killed the walk in! I noticed Piri was paddling out and I realized I would not be getting my board any time soon. Chamba said Piri had told him he had still had to file the resin down.
Chamba and I went to the local place for some pupusas. I paid less than $4 for seven pupusas and two sodas for Chamba and me.
We then spent two hours at Piri's place while he worked on my board. His hand slipped and he dinged it on the rail. He had to sand it, resin the new wound, let it dry, then sand it again. We talked story the whole time.