This morning I was in my no-surf frame of mind. I knew there was swell, but I was a bit tentative because I had what is probably my worst-ever ocean injury.
On September 8th, I was having quite possibly the best skimboarding session of my life. I was riding wave after wave back to shore with the least amount of difficulty. I was throwing ridiculous amounts of spray with every turn.
Then, disaster struck. I sprinted to the water, slammed the board down and hopped on. I had less than a second on my board to set my feet for the upcoming launch. I reached the wave a bit off-balance, but ollied anyway. My speed and the wave's face catapulted me at least six feet above the water. For some reason (style points?), I decided not to put my arms out to break my fall and slammed down with the back of my left shoulder and part of the side of my neck.
I was in immediate pain and knelt down in the water after rolling myself over. I felt big shooting pains, but I'd been having so much fun, I decided to skim it off.
The pain was excruciating that night. The next day, I could barely move it. Since then, it's gotten a lot better, but it still whines in pain when I venture to an angle it doesn't like.
I was nervous to get out there and test my shoulder. I knew I would have some pain when I did my windmill warm-ups. My hope was that my transfer from vertical to horizontal would affect the traveling plane enough so as to limit or altogether eliminate it. I knew the chances were slim, but I was optimistic.
I put off paddling for as long as possible. Upon jumping on my board, my shoulder was not cooperating as much as I would have liked, but it wasn't excruciating. The more I threw my shoulder forward, the more it stung. I made a deal with myself to just paddle through it and ignore the pain, but I caught myself pulling back oh-so-slightly on my left side.
The waves were going off, but there were a lot of closeouts to work through before getting to the goodness.
My first wave was a quick left that shut down on me pretty quickly.
On my second wave, I took off on a right late and off balance. After hanging up near the lip for way too long, I descended and the lip hit me in the temple. I took it like a champ but surfed the rest of the wave blind. The sound made it feel like I was in the barrel, but I didn't have enough time to press the record button on my camera, so I guess we'll never know.
My third wave. Ooh, baby. I'd just missed a pretty sick one (too inside), and I craned my neck to see if its twin was following behind. Sure enough, there he was! He was a big set wave that looked like it was going to section off. I spotted a chance at an outside corner and took it. I set up for the barrel and watched in awe as the longest barrel since Panama spun around me, amazed at how dark the froth made it. Check out the footy:
On my next wave, I had less than a second between setting my feet and the lip barreling over me. Unfortunately, I set my line too parallel to the wave and lurched forward, the lip and I consummating our brief relationship and becoming one. We were hot and heavy for less than two seconds before she let me know this was a one-time deal, by slamming me into the depths and holding me down for an uncomfortably long time.
On my next left, I committed to my bottom turn too hard for how gradual the slope of the wave was. I can't remember exactly what happened, but the lip hit the camera and knocked it down into the stringer, so there was some lip-induced trauma.
My next wave was a mellow drop, relative to the others of the day. I pumped around the initial spilling section, then snap-stalled for the barrel. My snap-stalling timing needs work. I'm either too late or too early. This time I did it too far away from the wave and the lip clocked me on the side of the head. Granted, it was a smaller wave...
All of these waves and I'd done nary a turn. My last wave, I pumped deep and long on, I cut down and met the weaker oncoming lip of the right. I hit it well, but once again, didn't keep my weight over my board.
I decided my shoulder'd had enough wear and tear for the day. I didn't want to risk repetitive stress damage and went in.