|Nemo and Rocket|
David yelped when something under the water pinched him, prompting a discussion of the tuna crabs on the beach.
"Didn't you see those red things all over the beach?" he asked me.
"Uh... no, I was looking at the waves," I said.
"Yes, we surfers are easily distracted by shiny things," he joked.
It took a while to get into my first wave, which I ended up sharing with sponger David. No flailing about this time for the first few waves as I readjusted to a different board – I popped up and rode. Yeah!
David took his next wave in and for a little while it was just me and the two blond girls on their longboards right next to the pier, before the dudes started to take over. I rode a few more waves, and a couple even had shoulders to play on, albeit briefly. Many of the waves were doubled up and in general they were mixed up, so it was challenging to be in the right place. It was also challenging to get into the small weak waves on my 5'4" fish. I saw one shortboarder catch a wave by paddling with his face almost touching the board. Somehow it's been hard for me to remember to dip my head like that, but I tried it on the next little wave and it worked.
Although the guys were crowding closer to the pier, I held my ground. Then I took off on a left and one of them dropped in on me on takeoff. He forced me to straighten out instead of turning onto the face and I fell. When I resurfaced, I saw him on the inside, checking his board for dings.
"Everything OK?" I called.
"Yeah, my board's OK. How's yours?"
I looked Nemo over, but didn't see any damage. "It's fine," I said, and then, as is my way no matter who's at fault, "Sorry about that."
"It's all right. Not like it's barreling out here or anything. More like 2-foot," he said as he paddled past.
I returned to the lineup, and the more I thought about the encounter, the more I got cheesed up – as Ronan, the Irish selkie in my YA novel, would say. While I was sorry that our boards had hit, I wasn't sorry that I'd been on the wave – his wave, he assumed by his response. After all, he'd dropped in on me. Grrr.
Regardless, I didn't want to be surfing near that guy any more. I left myself drift north, caught another wave with my head down, and called it a day with a lackluster belly ride that refused to take me all the way in. Usually I like to end on a better note but I was well enough satisfied with my earlier fun rides on a shortboard I hadn't ridden in a while.
On my way to the showers, I did see one of the googly-eyed red beasties belly up in the sand.