Sound of the Surf

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My feet are moving faster than they ever had before and my arms are thrashing at the frigid water harder than I had ever imagined they could. How it could ever get like this?


I was just surfing. Like always, I was minding my own business and taking in the power of the ocean as I sat on the long pink board. Soon though it got dark, and I knew it was time to head in. The news predicted a hurricane to pass through and said the waters would be very dangerous for the next few days. They suggested staying away from the ocean. My mom agreed. But as I paddled ashore, I heard a roar like no other. The roar of the ocean. The roar of the sheer power coming from beneath the sea and pushing out a great swell of water up and out onto the shore. I had to see it. I just had to turn around. I started doing it before I even gave it any thought. First it was just my head. Then my board. Then my arms. Before I realized it, I was moving toward the wave.
It pulled me in. It was as if I had transformed into a minuscule bug and the wave was an enormous light. As I paddled, faster and faster, the immense curl grew to a size beyond compare and the thundering growl deafened me to all other sound. All I could hear was that snarling wave, and soon it was so close that I could feel the rapid current on my feet that were immersed in the freezing water. This one was strong, I knew it, and so I stood up.
It had to be 15 feet taller than me. An ant next to a ripple in a pond, I started leaning forward as the wave took me. It was enormous and powerful, and the crashing and spray of the water made a sound that was so spectacular I cannot describe it in words. As I leaned in closer to the wave, I touched it, and the frosty water bit my fingers, like a guard dog at the gate of a mansion. My speed was decreasing, and I bent lower to make myself more aerodynamic in order to escape the wave, but I was already too far in. As the wave enveloped me, the sound transformed into something like you would hear as you drove through a tunnel at a very high speed, or the sound you hear when you cover your ears in a very loud room. It was phenomenal.
I could barely see the opening of the wave, but I knew it was there. I knew I couldn’t get out of the immense curl now, so I dove to the right, right out of the wave and right into the icy ocean. It chilled my already numbed feet to the bone. I came up for a short breath and was soon under the bone-chilling water once more. The wave took longer to go over me than I expected and I my lungs started aching before I could finally breathe again. I emerged from the water freezing, the glacial wind stabbing at my face like knives. I could just barely see the shore, but I knew which direction I should be headed. I started trying to swim toward it, but the current was too powerful.

My feet are moving faster than they ever had before and my arms are thrashing at the frigid water harder than I had ever imagined they could. The dark clouds are beginning to cry, and so am I. The shore seems to be getting further away instead of getting closer, and waves keep crashing over my head. Every time I go under, the calm of the underwater creates such a dramatic silence that it hurts, and when I come back up, the booming sound of the stormy sea deafens me. I try to scream out for help, but instead inhale a huge gulp of saltwater and start to cough. I regain my composure and continue heading for the shoreline, only to be pushed back a little more. Soon I give up and float on my back instead, wondering if I stop fighting the current it would bring me to shore. I just relax and listen to the ocean around me, a thundering chorus of swishing and sloshing, the raindrops hitting the sea as fast as an Olympic runner’s legs hitting track. I’m imagining I’m somewhere warmer and safer and brighter. I am yearning for dry land, or at least my surf board to rest on. Just now, my wish came true, because I feel my back reach a hard, sandy surface that I know is the beach.
I’m getting up, no longer worrying about my board, and running to the boardwalk, the booming ocean becoming quieter and quieter as I run. I run along the boards to my street and sprint down onto the road. The sea is becoming less and less thunderous as I run down Pacific Avenue toward my house. It is pouring, and I don’t see any cars on the road as I turn right onto Palm Way and pass the yellow and blue and white houses on my street. All I hear now is the rush of the wind on my ears as I open the white door to my house. As I close the door, my parents hug me, saying they were worried sick. I get warmed up and eat and stay dry and warm in my home.
As I lay down to bed, I hear nothing. Not a sound. The startling difference between now and five hours ago is so striking that I fall asleep easily with the silence. I never want to hear that kind of ocean again.





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