Posted by: smithdavid | August 11, 2013

If only it was always clean…

I drive into the car park in Nahoon, swing into the first space I can find – not using the optimistic parking method because it was optimistic navigation that’s got me into this situation. I cut Phoenix’s engine, jog along the paving slabs until I reach the lifeguard building.

‘Sorry I’m late…’ I say to Andre. I can’t see exactly where he’s looking because of his shades but no doubt he’s reading the ocean, figuring out where the best place is to take me.

‘No problem, man…some nice swell out there, get your suit on, we’ll go out…’ he says.

‘How’s the new stick?’ he says as we walk towards the sea.

warm at nahoon...

warm at nahoon…

‘Great, really easy to paddle…’ I say.

‘Ja, I got them to make it a little wider and fatter, what you need now is to be able to paddle easily for waves…’

‘How’re your boards?’ I ask. Andre got two boards in the consignment that Christine came with and he thought the shaper got the thickness wrong by a few eighths of an inch.

‘I tried them both and they’re fine…you know, shapers can play mind games, they write one size on a board but then maybe it’s actually another, but they always get you to try it first before you send it back…’

We stretch for a while, Andre gets me to do a few pop-ups on the sand, it’s been a year since the last lesson. ‘Maybe just keep crouched a little more…’ he says.

Now we’re heading in to the ocean, half-way up Nahoon beach, not quite at the the reef break. I hop onto Christine, begin paddling. Soon I’m up and over a few waves and then I’m out back.

‘Give this one a try…’ says Andre.

I turn, paddle. The waves arives, pulls on Christine, then I’m up, riding right as the wave pitches and curls.

someone gets airborne at nahoon reef...

someone gets airborne at nahoon reef…

‘Nice…’ says Andre when I’ve paddled back out. ‘it’s good to have some time when it’s  clean like this so you can really practice your technique…’

We wait for another set to come in. ‘Right, this one…’ he says.

I have to turn quick and paddle fast, the wave pulls. I pop-up quickly and once again I’m riding along, clear water beneath me, wave pitching to my right.

‘You did well to get up on that one, I told you a bit late…’ says Andre when I’m back out there. ‘It’s really about reading the wave, knowing where to place yourself, then paddling, three, four efficient strokes, then up…’

I take another wave , paddle out back again. ‘If only it were always like this,’ says Andre, looking out to the glistening, clean lines of swell coming in. ‘Surfing would be easy then…’

‘How the arms?’ he asks, after a time.

‘Still okay,’ I say, even though they’re like jelly.

‘I’ve got another lesson, but you keep going…’ says Andre eventually. ‘You’ve come a long way in a year, keep at it…’ he says as he catches the next wave in.

I feel nine feet tall. I make the next wave, turn Christine this way and that when I up.


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