Editor’s Note: The following piece is an excerpt from author Pat Steele’s novel Scorpion Bay. You can learn more about the book from Aspenwood Publishing here.
The surfers talked to Arturo about storms and swells as we rode the panga to the secret point. When we neared the point, we could see whitewater from waves breaking. The surfers went nuts, hooting and howling with joy. They slapped five and pounded Arturo and me on the back. The point was beautiful. It arced for about four hundred meters into a dark sandy beach. The point itself was rocky with jungle and trees growing right up to the high tide line. The waves were hitting the end of the point and wrapping all the way to the beach. We beached the panga on the sand and unloaded our gear. The surfers couldn’t stop looking and talking about the waves. Arturo was going fishing, so he left. He said he would check in every two days. The surfers left their gear in a pile and started waxing their surfboards. “We’re going surfing. We will fix camp later. After we surf, we will give you a lesson. Okay?”
One of the days got big. The boys told me it wasn’t wise to go out — that it was too dangerous. I paddled out and sat in the channel watching them surf. They were incredible. They would ride waves that were two stories high. The speed was almost twice as fast as the smaller days. After an hour, I paddled into the lineup position.
“Will, are you sure?”
“No guts, no glory.”
John gave me a thumbs up. I paddled into a huge wave. I had so much adrenaline I tried to turn too fast. I fell and skipped down the face of the wave. Underwater, I felt myself being lifted into the wave so that I was actually a part of it. As the wave broke, I was trapped inside. The concussion was tremendous and knocked the wind out of me. I was cartwheeling underwater without any air. I started to panic and clawed for the surface, but got sucked down again. I had started to pray when I miraculously broke the surface. I gulped for air and form. I sat in the channel for a long time watching them surf but had to give it one more try and paddled back into the lineup. They both caught huge waves. I waited for one that was just big. I made the drop and my first turn. The wave felt enormous and I had to crouch for balance. The section in front of me looked like it was going to collapse on me and I inched forward to gain more speed. The wave threw out in front of me. I was going through a tunnel of water. It was my first tube ride. The roaring water echoed like a cave. The sun was blocked out and I could see the lip of the wave breaking in front of me as I raced along. I came out of the barrel on the shoulder and pulled out of the wave.
John and Steve were hysterical. They paddled up to me and pounded me on the back like I had just won the Super Bowl. I was spellbound. That was the most amazing experience I had ever had.
Arturo picked us up a couple days later. When he came in, the surf had dropped. I now had stories to tell on the ride home. Steve and John started their long drive home early the next morning. They left the board with Arturo. I went back to fishing but inside me burned the fever of the wave walker.