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The World Championships
The crashing waves filled the night. This was an ongoing repetition in Laguna Beach, California. You were born in Laguna with these everlasting waves for skimboarding; it was their pastime since 1987. Like all teenage boys in this town, Ricky wanted to win the Victoria Skimboards World Championship of Skimboarding that was hosted at Aliso Beach the next month.
Not any World Championship is easy to win. Most people who have won have at least 15 years of skimboarding behind them. Ricky had 3.
“Mom!” A tired scream came from the upstairs bedroom.
“Yes honey,” a muffled growl came from below.
“I’m gonna see Stevie and go skim!”
“Sweetie pie, you can just walk to his house at this age. You’re 18 now, remember that Ricky-poo.”
“Ok, see ya at 6 Mom!” Ricky yelled as he pummeled down the stairs, excited to practice for the challenge awaiting him. He opened the garage and zoomed down his long weaving driveway on his 3-wheeled Speedster Super-Sport bike.
At 25 mph, Ricky was not in the mood to lose time. He out pedaled every red light, and every bike he passed. His custom Zap Wedge skimboard was bungeed onto the back of the tiny seat in back of him, barely clinging onto his Speedster. While breaking every traffic law in the book, Ricky focused on why he was going to Stevie’s house. Stevie had been Ricky’s friend ever since Ricky had learned to walk. Stevie had connections to the most skimboarding companies in the world. He had produced videos, and has done interviews with these companies. One of those top brand companies was the host of the World Championships, Victoria Skimboards.
Yes, Stevie had won the World Championships, and yes, he said it was hard. But at this point, Ricky had heard too many putdowns about his disadvantage that he knew he needed to practice a lot more. Ricky swerved a screeching E-brake slide that sounded like long fingernails on a chalkboard. He hopped off mid-brake and approached the door of Mr. Stevie W. Boomhower.
6 knocks rackety-rack-rack-rack. The door creaked open, it seemed like oil hadn’t been added to its hinges in a century. Ricky batted the door away with his skimboard. Sitting on the couch in front of him was Stevie, with skimboarder extraordinaire Morgan “Mo” Just.
Ricky jumped across piles of skimboard memorabilia that were scattered across the floor to shake this professional’s hand.
“I thought Mr. Just here could give you a few tips and tricks to cover for all the years you need to even have a chance at The World Championships,” Ricky reach around to pull his wallet out from his back pocket when Mo said, ”Don’t worry kid, you need it more than I do.” It was as though he could read minds. He was planning to buy a new skimboard with some money he had earned from recycling cans and doing chore around his house. Since money was low in the Salvadoah family (which consisted of his mom and sister), he didn’t have a good chance of getting some support from his mom. With a new board Ricky could ensure victory in a month. “So, let’s get to work, shall we?”
Mo lent the two boys a ride in his 2003 Toyota Corolla to Aliso Beach, the home of The World Championships. Mo first checked out Rick’s board, adding what seemed like a fortuneteller would put on someone’s hand. He put the car wax he was planning to use for his Corolla in the afternoon on his board, saying that it would “speed” up his Zap. “That’s going a little too far Mo,” Ricky thought. After Mo souped up the Zap, he lent Ricky on his own board, the board that had won 5
The waves were crashing like they had done the previous night. There was an occasional crash and crumble; the waves weren’t in top condition for wave riding. Ricky used his top-notch 20/20 eyes to scavenge the waves like and eagle searching for prey down below. After 7 minutes and 15 seconds a 6ft. tall giant with a curling barrel inside it came raging down the shoreline, eliminating every scrap of seaweed, and almost drowning nearby surfers.
Ricky started jogging down the steep slope at Aliso, but his jog turned swiftly into a sprint. He swooped down the hill like the eagle was dive-bombing down to the frightened dinner awaiting 5,000ft below. Literally 3ft. from the monster, Ricky dropped his board and attempted to hop on Mo’s board. He jumped onto Mo’s pro-model, insuring his back foot a placement on the board. Now speeding down a miniature highway, the towering wave seemed to crumble. Time was running out. The wave was crumbling and Ricky wasn’t even on it yet.
Ricky crouched, hopefully providing more speed so he could successfully show his skills to this professional skimboarder. Putting more pressure on his back foot so he could glide on the rugged smaller waves that were in his way, Ricky bounces up and down like he was on a trampoline. Shaking and shaking Rick confronted the wave finally and zoomed up the barrel. He swung his back foot forward and jumps off his board. It may seem crazy, but his board did a 180 while he stayed in the same spot called a shove it. This smooth shove it was performed just as Ricky was gliding down the menace.
While Ricky was successfully wrapping his wave, Mo had his HD video camera out and was recording this legendary footage. Right when Mo expected Ricky to glide down the wave and call it a day, he fumbled for the stop button, but Ricky turned a 75-degree angle turn to wrap the wave again! He pulled off another shove it and shot up the wave like a bullet protruding from a musket. He launched up into the air, flipping while placing just a fingertip on his board. He threw his board over his head and glided down to the water like a hang-glider jumping off a cliff.
The next feeling that this teenager felt was cold. The murky water at Aliso engulfed his body like a sinking boat. He rushed to the surface of the ocean and gasped for air. He started to shiver, for he was in contact with 50-degree waters. He started the long paddle to the shore, gliding over waves as he confronted the surprised skimboarder. Mo rushed over to him with a 1,000,000 hit video implanted in his, and his camcorder’s memory.
“Ricky-dude!” Mo shouted over the roar of the waves and wind.
“How’d I do?” Was the reply.
“With that skill, even Derek knight won’t beat you!”
Derek Knight was the favorite to win The World Championships with 17 years of experience behind his back; he started skimboarding when he was 3 months old (not by himself at first). Rick and him have had some heavy competition over the years.
“Ugh, I’m going to call it a day Mo,” came a tired reply.
“Wait! First do I have permission to publish this video?”
“Yeah, whatever you want,” Ricky said as he trudged to his house and his comfy bed, where he would prepare for the day ahead of him.
Ricky was awoken the next morning with a barrage of phone calls, all intended for interviews and meetings with Ricky Salvadoah.
“Uh, I’ll call you back tomorrow,” was how he answered to hundreds of requests that had phoned in. Ricky hopped on You Tube on his 15 year old Mac G3 and right on the front page was, “The Salvadoah Machine.” One click led him to Morgan’s view of Ricky’s amazing appearance. The phone rang again, haunting Ricky’s ears. Ricky rolled himself across his room on his chair to the phone stand and glanced on the caller ID. Imprinted onto the screen was, “Victoria Skimboards.”
Ricky’s immediate reaction was to rush the phone to his ear, but he overcame his inner self and answered the phone casually with a hello.
“Yes, is this Ricky Salvadoah?” Came a crystal clear reply from the other speaker.
“Yeah this is him.”
“Hello Ricky, this is Matt from Victoria Skimboards. My team and I were just wondering if you are attending the World Championship in about 2 weeks? We would be extremely proud to have you there.”
“In fact, I was planning to attend.”
“Cool, are you available between 2 and 2:30 today at Aliso?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there.”
“See you then.”
Ricky gasped in his room. The best skimboarding company in the world wanted to meet him in person! While he was emailing all of his friends about the news, another call came in. He pushed his chair back to the phone stand and this time, the phone said, “Derek Knight.”
“Hello?” Ricky said cautiously into the microphone.
“Hey, this is Derek, the guy that’s in your language arts class.”
“Oh, hey. What’s up?”
“Nothing much at the moment, but I saw your video on You Tube. That’s a nice wave.”
“Thanks, it was nothing.”
“It better be nothing because you’re not going to survive The World Championships with that lack of skill! You’re going to need a lot more if you want to even make last place! Time’s ticking.” Ricky cringed and held the phone away from his ear. Derek put his words through his mind, he’s going to have to work a lot more if he even wants last place. He placed the phone back on its permanent stand. He twirled across his room and dreaded The World Championships, which were only 2 weeks away.
Ricky rolled lazily down the traditional route to Aliso beach, which he would then confront Mo again, along with his gang of professionals. He flicked his wrist to his rusted watch, 2 o’clock on the dot. Suddenly, he saw a black Cadillac Escalade rolling across the beach. The black was so dark it looked like the president’s limo. Imprinted on the hood of this gas-guzzler was, “Victoria Skimboards.”
One by one, pro’s started rolling out of the truck; they had crammed 15 into a 7 seater. After 1 minute and 17 seconds, the legendary team confronted the dazzled teenager.
“We’ve been talking about you for quite some time now Mr. Salvadoah,” said a man with a crisp tuxedo and a fedora. Imprinted on his nametag was, “Tex Haines.”
The man then added, “When you are performing at The World Championship, do we have permission to video tape your performance?”
“Of course,” came the quick reply.
“But the prizes for this World Championship are very big. If you do not succeed, we will not add you to our permanent team here in Laguna beach.”
“Yes, I do recognize the sacrifices I must make for this World Championship. Done deal.” And the deal was set.
The next few weeks flew by. The only things on Ricky’s mind were eat, sleep, skimboard. He’d pulled off many amazing, unheard-of tricks. But he had also pulled off some clunkers. But after 2 weeks of long, hard training, he was ready to complete his deal and seal his victory.
Stevie pulled up the next morning in his brand new Corvette with his swim trunks and his custom Exile Skimboard. Ricky soon rushed down his driveway with his Zap and hopped into the sports car. He then told Stevie, “One ticket for The World Championship please,”
The wheels slowed down once they reached the canopy that said, “The World Championship.” Both skimboarders lent their car to a valet, and they strolled down the shiny red carpet. On the walls around them, tons of past World Championship trophies were on display. Crowds of tourists were surrounding the cases, glancing at the past. Ricky was worried about the present. When they walked down the final hallway, a representative from Victoria Skimboards gave them the surf forecast at Aliso for the day. There were supposed to be 5-7 foot waves, which was generally good for skimboarding. He also mentioned that Ricky was allowed a couple of minutes of warm-up before the competition. He pushed open the double doors and light flooded into the room. Ricky squinted into the sun as a massive amount of cheers were given to Ricky. He waved them off and proceeded to the beach where he would begin his warm-up.
For his warm-up, Ricky pulled off a varial flip, soaring into the sky like a hawk, and dove back onto the wave like a dive-bomber, soaring back to the shore. The crowd roared like a lion as he flipped his board to his hand, as if he possessed magic. He then started the long jog up to the judging booth, where he would receive his number for the competition and what he had to do to win.
The judges greeted him by telling him that he was lucky number 13 and he could ride 4 waves before judging was completed. He also told him that precision, creativity, and tricks were the 3 categories for judgment. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Stevie who was happily kicking sand onto his board, which would make the board fall faster in the rapid winds. Ricky ran over to join him as they waited for their numbers.
The judges finished their final marks for the contender before him, who had missed all 4 waves, insuring a rejection from the competition. He gave a final kick of sand to his board and sprinted down the shoreline with a 5-foot wave awaiting him.
He ensured his feet a position on his Zap when he sped up to the small wave, doing a kick flip and plunging into the ocean. “Don’t worry,” he thought to himself, “I’m only getting warmed up,” and he was. The next 7-foot giant barreled toward him like an angry elephant. He just barely got on his board to catch the wave, and he pulled off a wrap, doing a smooth shove it at the top of the wave. He turned again and attempted to wrap a second time, but the wave made a hollow barrel with him inside and he was sent flipping instead. He landed smoothly like he was supposed to do that, but he really had no idea that was going to happen. He got a cheer from the crowd, and judges fumbled for their pens, frantically scribbling notes about his performance. 10 minutes later, another monster came rolling in and he performed an extremely smooth jump with a triple flip landing on the water with his board flat. Judges scrambled again, and Ricky assumed he had a record-breaking score by now. But this last wave was going to cap his record with a dazzling performance.
The repetitive jog began unusually far away from the wave. Insuring a fast speed, he dropped his board and landed with picture perfect footing. The wave was starting to form a barrel. He crouched lower, but suddenly, a tiny wave sent him flipping towards the monster. He put his cat-like reflexes to use and grabbed his board so he had some sort of lifeline. He was floating in mid-air, but when he was the same height as the waves before him, he threw his board down on the angry elephant and jumped on. Video cameras were now whirling and the crowd was roaring, but he had much more to accomplish. He glided down the wave, but then turned abruptly, zooming in on the second wrap. He glided on top of the wave, but the wave crashed, sending Ricky on to the sand headfirst. The wave rolled over him, making him flip with the flow of the wave. He was thrown down onto the sand again, but this time with a searing pain burning up his leg, like someone had mistaken his leg for a tuxedo and they decided to iron it. Writhing in pain, Ricky tried to crawl up to shore, where judges and tourists rushed past the bars that kept them back. People were screaming “Call 911!” And, “Look at that! He’s never going to live.” With his heart raging at deathly speeds, Ricky blacked out.
His eyes glittered open to the face of Derek Knight. “Whoa! Glad you’re awake buddy! That was one tough wave!” Came a happy reply.
“Uh, thanks, I guess. Did I win?” Ricky said softly.
“I don’t know yet, we’ll probably find out later.”
“What really happened to me on that wave Derek?”
“The wave crashed early and caught you off guard. When you were under the wave, we expected that some sort of rock or sharp object scrapped across your leg creating that,” he pointed to the long line of stitches that were embedded in his right leg. “But thanks to preparation, paramedics were at the championship the whole time, so they wheeled you in here and sewed you up right in the Trophy Presentation room,” I then took a look around. A massive crowd was tuning in to an announcer, who was then announcing the second place winner. Brandon Rothe, another pro skimmer was being cheered on as he accepted his huge cardboard check. Ricky stood up, admiring his wound when the announcer then announced, “And now, for what all of you have been waiting for! Coming in first place with a record-breaking score of 330 points,” the crowd went silent, waiting for the word of the next world champion of 2009. “Ricky Salvadoah!”
Music blared and the announcer handed Ricky his Victoria Skimboards membership card, along with a check for $100,000 and a designer template for his own pro-model to be sold by Victoria Skimboards. Rick took a burning step up to the wood podium. Glancing at the roaring crowd below him, Ricky raised the huge cardboard check and sealed his victory with an action that would rewrite history for Ricky Salvadoah.