The Thrill

By , Philadelphia, PA
My hands were shaking as I started to paddle. I pushed my arms off the rim of my board and popped up looking out at the dark blue ocean.


Rewind to early August, it was a Monday and I was in the car with my mom going to my first day of surf camp. She made a right turn into a parking lot which was surrounded by a bunch of little shops. She parked the car and we hopped out, walking over to one of the smaller shops. As we walked in, we were greeted by a friendly face. “Hi, I’m James. I’ll be one of your surf instructors.” James took me downstairs to where all of the other kids were waiting. I was one of two female campers there. The other girl’s name was Ella. I was pleased to see that one of the instructors was a female, too. Her name was Kamari.

About ten minutes passed and we got on a bus. We went to a beach that was about fifteen minutes away. When we got there we unloaded the truck that had all of the surfboards on it. We brought the equipment to a spot on the beach among the sand dunes where we set up a tent. Then we suited up for the freezing cold water, putting both bathing suits and wetsuits on. Each camper was given a surfboard. Specifically, I was given a green Gnaraloo . We carried our surfboards to a nearby jetty, known to local surfers as Narnia. Along with three other new kids, I was pulled aside for a swim test. I jumped into the water which was absolutely freezing! Then Kamari told us what we had to do. We ran into the ocean, stopping where the water came up to our knees. We then treaded water for about a minute, and finally swam back to shore.

After the swim test Kamari took us over to where everybody else had started surfing. I put the leash on my right ankle and carried my board into the water. I looked out at the horizon and I couldn't see anything but water for miles. I was surrounded by the dark blue ocean. I looked to the right and was startled when I saw a cluster of sharp rocks. A sudden fear came over me of hitting the sharp rocks. But soon I pushed the fear aside. I had paddled for so long that it seemed like I should be all the way in Timbuktu; instead I was only about ten feet away from the beach.

I heard the roar of a big wave crash into the jetty. The splash nearly sent me flying off my board. Another wave even bigger than the one that first hit the jetty was heading right toward me. I had a good minute before the wave would get to me. I could paddle farther into shore where the wave wouldn’t crash as hard. I could just stay here and hope the wave wouldn't totally wipe me out. Or I could paddle out into the wave and hope that I could just make it over before the crash.



By now I had about 30 seconds until the wave would crash. I didn’t have very much time left and I would just have to wait there and hope that the wave wouldn’t totally wipe me out. Twenty seconds left, fifteen, five, I felt my board pop out from under me as the wave hit. I got swept up in the wave, tumbling head over heels repeatedly. I tried to pop my head up to catch a breath of air when another wave came. With it, I swallowed a large gulp of water. I felt something large and sharp rub up against my leg. My first thought was … SHARK! I then realized the wave forcefully pushed me over to the jetty. I felt my knee scrape against another large rock. I swam up to the surface of the water and finally took a breath. It felt like a rocket plowed right into my stomach, I was completely out of breath. At that point, I didn’t know if I would ever come up with the courage to get back in the water. Finally, after about twenty minutes of questioning if I wanted to go back in, I decided that I would give it a second shot. Again, I put the leash on my right foot and headed into the water.

Later that night, I was in bed trying to fall asleep. I went over the day in my mind. First, I thought about crashing into the jetty, then I thought about how I had almost popped up on my board. Lastly, I thought about how badly I wanted to surf again tomorrow.

Fast forward to noon on Wednesday, I was paddling out to where everyone else was trying to catch a wave. I learned that if there is a big wave you should paddle right into it and 90% of the time it won’t wipe you out. I paddled further and further... so far that when I looked back, the beach was the size of my hand. I looked down at the water and started to paddle again. Finally, I got out to where all the other kids were. We were far enough out that we could just float over the wave. I sat on the edge of my board and searched the horizon for a good wave. I sat still on the back of my board with the nose pointing straight up. I floated over wave after wave. A boy named Leo almost rode a wave all the way in, but fell at the end. Again I looked searchingly out at the horizon, this time, spotting a wave. My hands were shaking as I started to paddle. I pushed my arms off the rim of my board and popped up looking out at the dark blue ocean.

Finally! I popped up on my board, my feet firmly planted into my board like the roots of a tree. I looked out in front of me at the ocean but this time instead of looking like a dark blue it looked more clear and welcoming. It was as if the ocean was opening a door saying, “Come on in.” The wind blow through my hair and I felt like I was in a totally different universe. At this point, everything was nothing. All I could focus on was me surfing. It was a feeling that I had never experienced in my life. After riding the wave almost all the way in, the fin of my board caught on the sand. The thrill was over.

Later that night, I was in bed thinking about what I had experienced earlier that day. I was proud of myself. I had set out to learn how to surf and I accomplished my goal. I shut my eyes falling into a deep sleep and I remember feeling happy, satisfied and tired.





Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

bbrice said...
Apr. 7, 2012 at 7:56 am
-This well-crafted story held my attention the whole way through  I loved the metaphors used and the way this author built suspense.  Great job.  I am anxious to read other stories this author writes.
 
maya123 said...
Jan. 14, 2012 at 9:35 am
it was very descriptive and powerful
 
mbeth7 said...
Jan. 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm
This is a wonderful story that captures learning how to surf detail by detail. I like the way the time sequence shifts- drawing you in and out of specific moments in the writer's experience.
 
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