I paddled out and sat for a solid five minutes. I caught a left, floated almost immediately and pulled it.
I had to pull back from about a half-dozen or so waves in a row in a span of about fifteen minutes.
Then a pretty sick one came. I jumped on it and saw an Aussie guy who'd been ripping paddle for it, glancing at me for half a second while I was standing, descending the wave about fifteen feet outside of him. I watch as he stands up. I whistle loudly and he decides he's more special than I am and continues on his snaking journey. I kick out so as to avoid any chance of a collision (very slight chance he could have gone for a roundhouse cutty as I pumped down the line) and give him a look. He makes eye contact for another half-second and looks away as he paddles towards his buddy.
There are three courses of action when you feel you've been wronged in the water:
- Confront the person so they know you will not be tolerating this behavior.
- Ignore it
- Shadow the person so you're always just to their inside and take off on every wave they paddle for.
It's time to unveil a new segment of the EddieSurfs.com empire, Talk Story. For those not in the know, the act of talking story is a Hawaiian tradition of passing knowledge and experiences down. Historically, this has been done from an older generation to a younger one, but more and more, it's evolved (devolved?) into storytelling between people regardless of age groups. In this connotation (bastardization?) of the phrase, it's exclusively surfing, contextually.
Dateline, August 1998... I had just gotten back from El Salvador for my first real summer of surfing down there. I was surfing sizable Del Mar (18th Street or so) and had a line on a juicy overhead left. I was going down the line when another surfer, who I will refer to hereon as PussyBoy, not only looked in my direction, seeing I was up and riding, but he smiled oh so slyly and took off on me, RIGHT in my way. Had I not averted course, there most likely would have been a collision.
I had waited over an hour for that set wave and had endured a few poundings and PussyBoy had decided he deserved it more, even though he'd paddled out fifteen minutes or so before popping up on my wave of the day.
I was livid. I was young. I was foolish. I was insecure. I was weak. So I didn't say a word to him. He paddled out and stayed about fifty feet north of me, waiting for the next wave to arrive. I paddled over to him, then past him, giving up priority on the lefts. And from that moment on, every wave PussyBoy paddled for, I paddled right with him, ten feet to his inside. PussyBoy employed evasive maneuvers after the first three waves this happened. I followed him.
Two more waves passed, same result. He paddled in a bit and I went with him, not saying a word and pretending it was all a coincidence of cosmic chances. He then paddled for a nasty closeout which even I, in my most passive-aggressive FU didn't want a piece of, straightened out and went in.
My God, did that feel incredible.
Back to the day's session...
I caught a couple of other waves, but I faded off the back. I remember being irked by hearing the Aussie's nasally drawl, an accent I usually find charming (not in a gay way, though; that I save for Latvians).
I eventually went in after deciding I was over it.