Paying Dues.

Paying Dues.

By Rik James.

All images: @edit_me

The day before this shot the ocean was rouge, 8-10 feet of raw power unloading with gale force offshores. It was pumping, but the thought of being mowed down on the inside by a wash through was more than I could fathom.

Two young guys came down suited up but only one entered the lineup, one Ethan Quinn, charging like a madman! He got in position and immediately paddled for the first wave, a medium one, but got held up in the lip. The next one was bigger, he turned and went air dropping top to bottom and got ragdolled hard.

Ethan Quinn.

At this moment anyone who was thinking about it changed their mind right there and then.

The next morning I got down there early, it was still rouge but the wind had eased back making it look a little more friendly. Three young guys on short boards paddled out and straight away got mowed down by an 8 foot set sending them all back to the beach. A couple of older guys on boogs got out and started taming the rights, the lefts were washing straight over dry reef but there was some gems.

By mid morning there was a small pack charging solid lumps and dodging clean up sets. I was sitting on the hill with butterflies in my stomach watching guys getting crazy shacks and some gnarly wipeouts.

I had been out of the water for the last week with a flu and still wasn’t 100%. The nerves were definitely alive and a war raged inside my head most of the day as I spectated from the safety of dry land, my thoughts constantly firing.

“It’s pumping, get out there!

The inside is sticking out of the water!

You’re a pussy, go home!”

By the afternoon the tide had come up and the swell had backed off just a touch. It was now or never.

I suited up and paddled out. Not even a moment after reaching the take off spot there was sets stacking the hoziron. The two guys who were tackling the lefts turned and went. I was faced with the third wave.

I took a breath, turned, put my head down and paddled. It picked me up and I dropped down the face engaging my rail and turned hard off the bottom under the lip into a nice in and out. The nerves subsided and adrenaline took over.

I paddled back out buzzing and started turning on anything coming my way. It was a memorable session, I got the biggest tube of my life that day. I was calling it quits after getting a cracker but couldn’t negotiate the usual keyhole in for the water moving so I paddled out for one more and some advice for getting in.

The boys let me know I had to paddle around the corner into calmer waters to exit. The next wave reared up and I paddled deeper, I’d made every wave to this point. I got clamped and went over on the inside section.

The beating surprisingly wasn’t too bad, I surfaced and the saw the wave in the covershot coming at me. For a moment I was a deer caught in headlights, standing knee deep in water with a six footer about to detonate right in front of me!

I let out a little sarcastic “aaarrrgh” as I was looking back up at the photog and copped it sweet. The thing I had been dreading was now a reality. It was too shallow to try and dive under so I just had to stand there and cop it sweet.

It basically just steamrolled me into deep water, I was unscathed and thinking back on it I wasn’t even really that phased by the situation.

I’m glad I got to push out of my comfort boundaries and come face to face with something that I was pretty adamant I didn’t want to experience.

Maybe I got lucky this time, but now having the experience under my belt I can guarantee next time I won’t be sitting on the headland second guessing myself all day.

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