Senior Editor
Staff

The Inertia

When I was very young, maybe 21 years old, I spent about three months in Hawaii. It was a good time: three weeks on the North Shore and eight bouncing around Kauai in a rented Dodge Caliber. Somewhere on Kauai — I can’t remember where now — we stopped on a stretch of road because my girlfriend had to pee. As she squatted on the side of the road and turned red dust into red mud, I glimpsed a little wave over the edge of a small-ish cliff. There were four people surfing it, three of whom were on boogie boards. All teenagers and very good at sliding down waves. In my naiveté, I assumed that, with a decent wave and only four people, I would be welcomed with open arms. I was not.

My girlfriend stayed on the cliff, watching as I paddled out with a Rick Kane smile. The teens ignored me entirely as though I simply wasn’t there. I sat on the inside for a few waves, caught a couple of scraps, then slowly made my way towards the peak. Respectfully, mind you. After a handful of waves went by, all the teens were inside, paddling back out, chattering to each other. Finally, a wave came to me. As I pumped through an early section something amazing happened: all four of those teens who apparently did not know I existed, turned around and burned me. All four of them at the same time, seemingly without discussion. Never in my life have I seen an act of such synchronized perfection.

When I emerged from the whitewater, only three were paddling back out. I followed. And when I got back to the peak and turned back towards shore, I saw the fourth teen climbing the cliff. At the top, he stood, dripping wet and bronzed, leaning on his bodyboard in front of my girlfriend. Then he turned, looked directly out at me, and sat down beside her. Stunning in his audacity. Anyway, the next wave came and the lone surfer teen looked at me and swiped his head to go. I went, surfed, and did not return to the lineup. As soon as the teen sitting beside my girlfriend saw me clambering back up the cliff, he stood up, climbed down without even a glance at me, and paddled back out.  It was, perhaps, the most drawn-out, passive-aggressive way of saying “fuck off” that has ever existed. Do you know who doesn’t have that problem? Mason Ho and Sheldon Paishon.

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A few days ago, Mason awoke in the middle of the night. At 4 a.m., he picked up Sheldon. Together, they drove to the South Shore to surf a wave that me, with my Rick Kane smile, likely would have been burned by four people at once. “This wave breaks directly on a reef shelf,” Mason explained, “and is heavily localized by the boys that live there.”

Afterward, the pair surfed a secret zone. So secret, in fact, that it might not even be on anyone’s radar to even be a secret. “We’ve never seen or heard of anybody trying it before,” Mason wrote.

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