For the next hour, Sanch rode the small inside shore break having given up on the larger
sets. The crowd thinned and the large full moon hung opposite the setting sun. The sky to the west shone different hues of red and purple and orange. Drew stopped to chat with Sanch before heading in.
“Now’s your chance,” he said. “Crowd is gone. Get back out there and go for it.” Only two other guys still surfed the shore break. Jake was alone on the outside in the twilight hours. Sanch joined him.
“I was just going in,” Jake said. “It’ll be dark in another minute.” He caught one last wave, leaving Sanch out alone.
The waves continued coming in at sizable strength, crashing onto the inside sandbar with thundering power.
Sanch let a set pass. The last sliver of sun drifted below the horizon creating a magnificent green flash.
Sanch had no choice but to catch the next wave. He paddled, and the board lifted. The reflection of the moon glared off the curl of the wave. He had to go, either on his feet or in a head over heel wipeout reminiscent of the one he experienced at Playa Grande, maybe worse with the exposed rock being so close. He didn’t stand but remained crouched with his right hand holding tight to the outer rail, fighting the urge to shut his eyes and give in to his fear, to take the wipeout and paddle to shore, a broken spirit. Before he could make a conscious decision, the roaring wave connected with the fast moving surface below him, placing him deep into a twilight translucent dream tube. Sanch slowly loosened his grip on the board. The cave opened wide, and he eased himself from the crouch and stood half erect. The fear lifted, and he experienced a stillness unknown to him as he sped through the oceanic vortex. But it ended as quickly as it started, fleeting and momentary, but at the same time infinite. He was now bonded to the ancient tradition of surfing that was first recorded by Joseph Banks who sailed under Captain Cook on the first European visits to the Polynesian Islands in 1769. The past and present collided. All one. As had always been. One. All there ever was and ever could be. Sanch emerged from the barrel still standing. His back arched, face to the heavens. He pumped both fists twice, the only outlet for the excitement within. Two hundred and thirty years of tradition pumped through his veins in just a matter of seconds.
Jake stood watch with his board under his arm. He had a half-smile on his face.
“Whatcha think?” Jake asked.
Sanch smiled. He did his best to contain himself. He nodded, unable to speak. “You did it.”
Sanch nodded again, his smile growing. “You still looked like the one-nut, wiggle-butt wonder, but you did it. You got a full stand up barrel.”
Sanch nodded. “I damn sure did.” He wanted to shout, to twirl, to run, to do something but smiled and nodded his head. “It was unreal.
Editor’s Note: The book Native Moments will be released on September 15, 2016 via Paperback, eBook and Audio book.