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TOPIC: Kayaking BIG Surf

Kayaking BIG Surf 12 years 6 months ago #13809

  • Whitewaterules
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Kayaking Big Surf at Higgins Beach, Maine:

What is it that draws me to the ocean? I check the surf reports and river gauges daily, chomping at the bit like a junkie trying to get his fix. Last Saturday, the day after the last snowstorm, I gave in to the itch.

As I look to the horizon, the water and sky blend in monochromatic chrome, separated by a sliver of tormented yellow. Twelve-foot surf crescendos in hollow crashing barrels charging to shore like a freight train.

I watch two surfers struggle hopelessly against the surf as I seal myself into my kayak's cockpit. The gasket resists, protesting the temperatures of early March. The surfers are beat. They leave the water, tired of getting slapped around like a redheaded Korean stepchild. I know I'm in for a ride.

A strange feeling of excitement and relaxation floods my body, I'm in it. Somehow, the chaos feels like home; I feel the oneness, the focus, the peace. The ocean taunts me with each ebb and flow. Her thunderous voice calls my name. I give in to her gravity as I paddle out to console our madness, a virtuous scandal about to take place.

She resists, pushing me away, her blows a test of courage. She wants commitment; I give it to her. We quarrel back and forth; finally a breakthrough. I see light on the horizon as it bobs up and down. Looking back to shore, thundering waves separate the open ocean from the mainland, humanity a distant memory.

I gather my courage and have a go. As we reacquaint ourselves, she slaps me on the back like a drunken friend I haven't seen in years. Suddenly, she collapses. I shoulder her weight and clutch my paddle. Finally, the hurly burly subsides. I playboat down the face of the charging foam pile. I take flight, into the air, in a series of freestyle expressions. As I near the beach, I carve back around and let the wave pass. I take a few breaths and POW! Three foam piles simultaneously converge into a vertical wall on my chest. I finish upside down and backwards, the roar and darkness all that exists. The folly somehow calms my mind. It focuses every part of my being. In the midst of such turbulence, I find peace.

I emerge from the darkness to be reborn. As I Eskimo Roll to right myself, I breathe as if it were my first. I ride the next wave to shore, towards circles and squares. Landfall, I pop my spray skirt as water drains off the tip of my nose, into the cockpit.

From shore, I look back out on the entopic force of chaos. Irony manifested, the terror holds tranquility within. I chew my organic fruit leather. Organic Grape brings me back to my first experience of the Upper Kennebec at 6,000 cfs, in a Perception Dancer. I was eleven.
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