Monday, February 23, 2009

fastest. wave. ever.

i surfed senoritas this morning, one of the breaks at punta hermosa south of lima, where the waves were 7 feet high. it is challenging and rocky, but i paddled out because it was less crowded than caballeros, which is easier and sits just 100 yards to the north. there were only four people at senoritas, so plenty of time and space to focus. the first wave i caught as a taster inside and it fattened out quickly. for the second wave, i paddled out to the take off zone, but was too late and got tossed around in the white water. then i saw a brazilian guy drop in and turn so hard to the left that he squatted down and grabbed his board with his right hand to help hold the edge in as he was getting into the wave. watching that up close made me realize how fast the break is. it kicks up into a vertical position on a bunch of submerged rocks, breaks quickly and then peels left for at least a hundred yards. all of this happens in seconds. fine, i thought, next time, just throw the board parallel to the wave, paddle hard, and hope for the best. most importantly, don't misjudge it and get caught on the wrong side of the peak, i told myself. luckily, i dialed the next take off, and it was the fastest wave of my life. breathtakingly fast. like skipping across the water the way rocks do when you throw them because the surf board is moving so fast. so fast that you have to lean way, way back when you are turning. so fast that you can do big sweeping turns, nearly stall out on the lip and then, SWOOSH, find yourself flying again as you drop back in. i've never felt anything like it. pure exhilaration. better than riding a borrowed BMW 1200 motorcycle around a closed track at 180 km/h. better than bombing a hill on your skateboard. better than jumping into a river from a rope swing. miles better. now i understand what my friend meant on sunday when he was talking about the speed of the waves south of lima, and how they are more fun than ones that break in the city. combine this speed with the unique characteristic of surfing - which is that the playing field (the wave) changes every millisecond, prompting you to respond continusouly in a dynamic feedback loop - and you have the best sport out there. certainly the only ethereal one.

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