#2 A Really Really Good Wave in the Northeast Caribbean
On one of our many trips to leech off of “Diamond” Jim Veiga and his ever-improving accommodations and modes of transportation, we happened upon a certain world-class right doing its thing. We drove up a small mountain or extremely large hill, depending on your perspective, about 10 miles from the beach to have a look at a series of waves. From there we would usually get bummed out, and force ourselves to make the miles long hike into one of these notoriously fickle waves to ride small, choppy and shallow waves. The consolation is that they are rarely crowded.
On this particular day however we were greeted by favorable winds, decent swell and clear skies. We all marginally freaked out when we saw what looked like small lines wrapping along the (in)famous cocktease of a point. And god what a view. The huge bay was a sheet of glass with swimming pool clear water surrounded in a crescent moon-shaped, pure white sand beach. Each side of the bay was trimmed in palm trees and lush tropical jungle. A funky little tropo bar sat just off the road in the middle of the beach.
We all strained to figure out exactly how good it was. But it is hard from 10 miles away and the consensus was that it looked small and fun. So I pulled out my 500mm lens and held it up to my eye with my bare hands to get a better look.
If you have never put a lens that long up to your eye without the help of a tripod, let me explain. You can’t see jack shit. Every minor movement is exaggerated so bad you feel like your eyes are gonna pop out of your head. This is compounded by trying to focus on something half the size of a flea’s nut sack. But I gotta tell ya, I just about shit my pants when I finally saw something moving on a wave.
It wasn’t small and fun. It was good. Really, really good. Way overhead. Lined up. FUUUUUCK!
After the short, over-accelerated, hyper-fueled, mega-aggressive drive to the beach in Jim’s sketchy jeep, we all made the excruciatingly long walk the length of the entire bay. We finally reached the paddle out spot. Which despite the size of the bay, which seems to be three miles wide, the paddle out spot is very concise. We all lined up behind Jim and followed as he weaved through the shallows. He was barking out instructions regarding what we were all about to commit to when a big perfect left reared up in front of us. Being a overzealous goofy footer, I immediately ignored Jim’s instructions and paddled straight into the take-off zone and went on the next wave. I barely made the drop and had a minor heart palpitation when it jacked up and threw out. I barely skirted out of the wave and rode off the back. I found myself in position again almost immediately as I noticed Ricky B moving into the zone too. The second wave was much bigger and I realized as I pushed over that maybe Jim was telling us NOT to ride this wave. Despite myself, I got pitted again and rode it out swearing and screaming out loud how, “I gotta get the fuck out of here. This thing is trying to kill me.”
As I paddled laterally across the reef in front of the take-off spot, I intentionally paddled way outside the zone and Ricky B who was looking pretty determined to catch one even though I just declared to the crowd it was in our collective best interest to, “Move along. Nothing to see here.” As I passed Ricky an even larger set appeared. Ricky and I put our heads down and sprinted. I was headed west towards the channel. Rick headed north, hoping to punch straight through. I managed to pierce through. I looked behind and saw Ricky duck diving right smack-dab in the worst place. I cringed as the lip chucked and you could see the shallow reef under Rick.
Everyone else had followed Jim through the small keyhole west of Millimeters, as we later learned that left is called, and avoided the majority of interaction with any real physical drama. (Although having repeated the process several times after this day, the visual drama is fairly heavy.) Ricky however was the proud owner of a broken surfboard. I felt horrible, but what can you do? He was now a long shitty swim, a even longer shitty walk back to the car to be greeted by no backup boards. Hey at least that cool tropical bar had a good view of what he wasn’t surfing.
We all paddled across the front of the reef behind Jim like good worker ants until Jim sat up and looked out to sea. I looked around to try to triangulate my position. We were so far out in the ocean that lining up on stuff was impossible. When a set came to us, we all scrambled for safety, except Jim, I saw natures little road signs begin to appear. First the water ran off the reef east of us in a ugly display of displacement. Then rocks appeared. And Jim calmly sat on top of those rocks as the rest of us ran crying out to sea like little faggalas. Jim casually turned and looked like he was going to drop right into the dry rocks. The peak jacked up and Jim disappeared down it’s smoother-than-a-porn-star’s- id=”SPELLING_ERROR_13″>coochie face.
It took a while for everyone to figure out that because of the heavy bowl on the peak, you gotta take off right in front of the rocks. Or a fair way down the line. I must have paddled for 10 waves before I got mad and sat next to Jim and finally caught one.
Words can’t really explain it. The physical aspects go like this. The medium size waves were two or three feet overhead on the wall, sheet glass. It has a hollow as hell first section which runs about 20-30 yards across fairly shallow reef. That is followed by a steep but rolly section that ran forever -it seemed- maybe another 50 yards. And on the medium size waves that hugged the reef better, you get greeted by a third rolling bowl that lets you surf until your legs gave out. If you got one of those, you got cleaned up for sure, so it was a toss up. The big sets were a lot hollower but were shorter and petered out in deep water missing the reef on the inside. Sort of like a reverse Kuta reef.
After my first wave I sat in the channel and freaked out a little. My heart was going a million miles per hour. My mind was doing loops inside my skull. I had a hard time rewinding the ride and figuring out what happened. I saw a big set coming so I started paddling back up the point. Everyone was scrambling so I put my head down and started sprinting again. When I looked up I saw Jim air-drop into a huge set wave right under the hook. He made the drop and stood tall for a few moments before the foam ball ate him. I screamed as loud as I could. That was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life. Then I got cleaned up really bad and pushed way past were I kicked out of the previous wave. As I paddled back I watched everyone of my best friends catch the most beautiful waves anyone has ever seen. I was hooting and whistling and screaming for all of them.
This went on for a couple hours. Everyone was screaming and whistling and getting shacked. On another particularly large set, Jim again went for that late drop tuberiferious-ness. He had made several of them and also gotten bitch-slapped a few times. This time however he got pitched out into the flat and landed on a rock on his taint. Yup. His taint. He paddled back out agonizing over his now very tender perineum. He attempted a few more waves but finally chucked it in for the day. How ya gonna surf with your nifkin all jacked up?
Slowly the crew headed in one by one. Until only Bill “Gloydal-Zoydal” Gloyd and I were left. Since only two of us were there and Jim in particular was gone, we were left to cherry pick the best waves. Bill mentioned to me after I paddled back from my best wave of the day that he was going in. I thought about it for a second. Then I asked him to turn around and have a look at the whole scene. Look at the perfect blue sky. Look at the gorgeous white sand beach with only our own footprints on it. Look at the postcard palm trees and rain forest that surrounds the whole bay. Look at the clear warm water. Look how many people are in the water. LOOK AT THE FUCKING WAVES! His eyebrows raised up and he smiled that smile only a kid gets when he knows he can get away with something. He nodded in agreement. and we kept surfing.