It was a relaxing view of the blue Pacific on the ride to Swami’s, so named for the ashram retreat just north of the beach. They pulled into the parking lot, locked the Escalade’s doors, and Zeta put her wetsuit on and Justus the surf vest. They took their boards off the rack and walked down the stairs going down to the beach from the overlooking coast cliff. “Walking down these flights of stairs to go surf isn’t difficult but after a three-hour surf session some surfers can hardly get back up to the top of the cliff.”
“You’re not doing a three-hour session are you?” Carol asked.
“No, no. Justus says he wants to get the hang of it and I’ll loosen up for tomorrow on a few waves. I think he at least saw some waves in Morocco,” she teased.
Down on the beach, Zeta demonstrated how to lie down on the board, paddle, and then jump up into a crouched standing position. Justus copied what she did and said he was ready to give it a try. Zeta showed him how to wax the board and then how to fasten the surfboard leash to his ankle.
They headed toward the surf, and Zeta said “I know you’ve got some gymnastic talent and other skill sets but don’t get too discouraged if you keep falling off your board. Sometimes it takes trying hundreds of times over several days, or weeks, to start getting the hang of it.”
“Seriously, surfing isn’t easy to learn Justus.”
They shuffled into the water to avoid getting slashed by a stingray barb, then Zeta laid prone on her board and started paddling. Justus did the same, not looking as steady as her, and paddled behind her.
“Just get the feel of how the board balances in the water,” she instructed Justus.
“Ok,” he answered, arching his back more, holding his head higher, and paddling more confidently as he came up beside her.”
“Hey, you’re looking good, that’s better, keep it up!”
A set of waves was coming in, and Zeta yelled, “Now you have to paddle hard through the white water or roll over under your board and let the wave go over you,” and she paddled through the wave followed by Justus. “This next white water is too big, we’ll flip our boards and hang on underneath while it goes over us,” and they did. “Now let’s paddle hard to get outside of where the waves are breaking,” she yelled.
Outside the surf breakers, Zeta showed Justus how to sit upright on the board and explained the etiquette of the lineup; who has the right of way, and why not to drop in on top of someone already surfing on a wave. “You seem to be catching on to this rather quickly. How are you feeling now that we’re out here in the ocean?”
“I’ve never heard you so quiet, with so few words. You sure you’re all right Justus, you can swim can’t you?”
“Oh yes, I’m just focused and tuning into the pulsing waveforms in the ocean.”
“What do you mean pulsing waveforms? You mean from the breaking waves?”
“No, from the groups of waves in the far distance, beyond what I can see.”
“You mean the incoming wave sets? You can sense them in the distance.”
“Why yes, can’t you?”
“No, I can’t. I just look towards the horizon to see what’s coming.”
“Oh, that’s interesting. I feel the pressure waveforms that are pushed ahead of each swell line, like the bow of a ship creates a pressure wave ahead of the ship.”
“Now that’s interesting Justus, maybe you can give me some advance information on what’s coming.”
“Ok, sure, like what?”
“If I see a set coming, tell me how many waves are in it and which wave is the strongest, because it will make the biggest wave.”
“Ok, I can do that.”
“Here comes a set, what’s the big picture?”
“There are twelve waves, the sixth wave is the biggest, but there’s another set coming a few minutes behind it, and the seventh wave is very intense.”
“Are you sure Justus?”
“Yes, quite sure.”
Zeta didn’t paddle for any waves in the first set and most of the other surfers waiting in the pack went for those waves. Then in just a few minutes, shorter than normal between sets, the other set appeared on the horizon. “The seventh wave, right?” she double-checked with Justus, and he shook his head yes. She let the first six waves pass under her and then saw the seventh wave, a large well-formed beauty, paddled until she caught it, slid down the smooth glassy face and made a sweeping bottom turn. Then she swooped, pumping up and down the wave face, ripping and flying down the line of the perfectly peeling wave. “Whoooo!” she shouted as she kicked out and the wave energy dissolved in white bubbles. “I even had a short tube ride section!” Sitting on the beach watching nature’s show, Carol waved her approval to Zeta.
She paddled back out and greeted Justus with, “That was fantastic, I’m stoked! You’re now my official wave spotter, or rather sensor,” she laughed.
“Ok, it’s my turn to give it a try,” Justus declared to the adrenalin filled Zeta. “I think I’ll select a small wave for my introduction to this water wave surfing. These waves are so much different than those in the OD, a million times denser.”
“An excellent idea, try a smaller wave,” Zeta concurred.
“All I could see after you dropped down the wave was your head and shoulders coming up above the wave and then disappearing below the wave, and your ponytail swinging back and forth as you made your moves. I’ll go in and sit with Carol, so I can watch you surfing, just as soon as I get the hang of this.”
“That may be a little while darlin’,” Zeta advised Justus.
Justus had quickly figured out how to sit balanced on the board. He sensed the size wave he wanted to try coming in the next set, laid down on the board, and slowly paddled into position. As the wave-swell came closer, he paddled for it. He felt his board pushed from beneath like the wave was alive, paddled until the wave owned him and the board, jumped up in a crouch, slid down the wave face, started the bottom turn and dug the board’s right side rail too deep into the wave, and found himself in a wipeout. Tossed over and over by the wave was like being inside a gigantic washing machine with his surfboard in tow. His leash yanked on his ankle with the force of a big tuna trying to break free of a hook. Finally, the wave relinquished its death grip, and Justus bobbed to the surface inhaling a gasping breath.
Pulling himself back onto his board, he started to paddle and was immediately pounded by a larger breaking wave, and again found himself inside the heartless Pacific washing machine. The turbulence gripped his board with a vengeance, and Justus felt like his leash was tied to a runaway elephant dragging him underwater like a bath toy. Even with his exceptional strength, he knew he was no match for primordial Mother Ocean. He relaxed, being swirled and tossed around underwater like a rag doll waiting for a reprieve. Justus caught a glimpse of a seal swimming underwater with a look of astonished incredulity on its whiskered face.
As Justus waited to be bonded out of salt water prison, his lungs ached with burning hunger for oxygen. The elephant continued to drag him, and Justus fought the instinctive urge to breathe. He realized if he could reach the leash he could yank on it and break it, but he was unable to unstraighten his body against the force of the elephant. “I’m either going to pass out, or take a breath of water and drown,” he thought as panic tried to ravage his mind. Finally, the leash tension lessened and he bobbed to the surface sucking in a huge lifesaving breath.
He crawled back on his board and paddled to the side as fast as he could to avoid being caught inside by crashing waves again. Paddling back out to Zeta he sat upright on the board and reported, “Standing on the beach looking at these beautiful waves I had no idea what a heartless bitch Mother Ocean can be if when we don’t understand and respect her. But, I’ve learned several very valuable lessons,” he added.
“Yes, it looked like you were getting quite a surfing education,” she smiled not aware how close this SOG had come to dying just a few minutes ago. “So you had a wipeout, and got caught in the impact zone. Those are two humorless instructors.”
“I do think I’ve got it down now Zeta. It’s just that these waves are so different. The waveform principles are the same, but the density physics calculations are far more complex.”
“So a wipeout and a bad time getting caught inside, and you’re ready. Ok, if you say so,” and she paddled into another wave and shredded it until all the wave dissipated. Then as she paddled back out and she looked up to see Justus stroking into a large wave. He caught it, streaked down the wave face, made a slashing bottom turn and began surfing up and down the wave, cut back, reversed directions again and rode the wave almost to shore.
He paddled back out to Zeta, and she greeted him with, “Yes, you are full of surprises. I suppose you’ve got another skill set now?”
“It’s just a modified skill set. I just needed to recalibrate my OD references to these ocean waves and adapt my kinetic sense of feel. At least there’s not the risk of being drawn into a vortex here. In the OD, energy is produced by powerful vortexes, and it’s tempting to get too close to the edge and get sucked in and zapped through a wormhole. It can take eons to get back, if ever.”
“Did that ever happen to you?”
“No, a couple of close calls. I did see it happen to a SOG I knew. I’ll probably never see him again. I’d like to catch one more wave and go left on it. The best way I can describe the waves in the OD is they’re similar to massive planet girdling atmospheric waves that suppress ozone holes on Earth.”
“Oh, that really makes things clear,” Zeta laughed. “So now you’re going to try goofy foot style,” Zeta asked.
“Nothing goofy, I’m quite serious about this ocean surfing. I think it’s great!”
“Goofy foot just means keeping your feet the same as if you were going right, but you go left with your back to the wave.”
“I see. I’ll give that a try and then I’m going up to the beach with Carol so I can watch you surf.”
“So you’re not going to spot waves for me?” Zeta asked feigning great disappointment.
“Not right now, I want to watch you perform on the waves. Ok?”
“Alright. I’ll be the solitary surfer, except for the rest of the surfer pack,” Zeta said grinning.
Justus did his goofy foot ride and then with Carol watched Zeta surf for another forty-five minutes. On her last wave, she’d just completed a sweeping bottom turn on an overhead wave and was starting to swoop back up the wave face when another surfer paddled into the wave and shouted, “Back off bitch this wave’s mine!” He dropped in, shooting down the face of the wave hitting the edge of her board and cutting her off. Then he shoved his left elbow into her ribs and forced Zeta into a nasty wipeout.”
“Did you see what the hell that guy just did to Zeta?” Carol yelled. “That’s just sick. What a dick head!”
“Yes, I saw that, is that a common occurrence with this surfing?”
“Usually not here. He must be a cretin jerk. Usually, most surfers will show mutual respect. But there are a few creeps who have a territorial attitude that only locals are allowed access to their surf spot. They try to drive other surfers away with harassment, fights, or vandalizing vehicles.”
“Not very gentlemanly lads are they?” “There always seems to be a few tyrants anywhere one goes, in any era.”
Zeta was beginning to paddle to the beach when the local brute was paddling back out. He was laughing and yelled at her “Now stay the hell off my waves bitch, go find a girlie beach down the coast!”
Zeta came in and inspected the damage the ugly-mannered local did to her board. “You were fabulous Zeta. I sure enjoyed watching you. Sorry about the urchin out there,” and Justus gave her a big hug. “I think he just created some dreadful karma for himself.”
“The Problem with karma is, from what I’ve observed in this world, it just seems to take forever or never, and usually never,” Carol philosophized.
“Sometimes karma can be swift,” Justus added.
“Let’s shower off and rinse our boards over by the bottom of the stairs. We can relax for a while and then hike up the stairs,” Zeta suggested.
After rinsing off, the three sat on the beach enjoying the day and talking about just how special this place was, other than for the jerk. Carol started asking some things she’d thought about after her DNA conversation with Justus. As Justus noticed the jerk paddling to the beach with a buddy, he mentioned, “How about you ladies heading up the stairs and get the towels out so we can dry off. I’ll bring both the boards. I need to talk to someone about their beach manners.”
“Let’s go, Carol,” Zeta said with a look of certainty that there was nothing to discuss, just head up the stairs. As the surf jerk walked out of the water with his buddy Justus waited for them to come up the beach towards the shower area.
As the two came by Justus, he walked up between them and grabbed both by their trapezius muscle near their neck. With his powerful grip, he dug his fingers into the buddy’s trapezius, and buddy dropped his board as his arm went completely numb and collapsed onto his knees. He thought the words “Hey dude whatya doin’ man?” but he couldn’t get them out of his paralyzed mouth. “Stay here till you can feel your arm. If you move before, you’ll never paddle a surfboard again. Understand?” Jerk’s buddy managed to nod a sheepish affirmative.
Then Justus led surf jerk bully back down to the water’s edge. Every time he tried to speak Justus applied just a little more pressure. Then he finally allowed him to talk. “Hey mister what the hell’s up?”
“You were a terrible bully to a beautiful lady out there today, weren’t you?”
“I, ah, she was on my wave. The cunt has no business messin’ with our waves!”
“That was the worst possible answer you could have given me sport.” The vice grip turned the jerk to face Justus. “You’re not done paddling today.” Then he looked in the bully’s eyes for a few moments and said, “You will paddle until you’re exhausted, go in the water, dive down deep, then take a deep breath of the ocean,” and he gave the surf bully a push by the nape of the neck back into waiting Mother Ocean.
From the cliff above Zeta and Carol were watching what was going on. “What is he doing Zeta?”
“He’s just talking to them.”
“Looks like those guys are terrified of him, and they’re not small guys, they’re pretty well built.”
“Justus is quite strong, persuasive, unique, and he’s very protective of me. I’m sure he’ll give them a good talking to.”
“That other guy’s still down on his knees.”
“Maybe he’s praying?” Zeta quipped.
The bully paddled out to the surf line-up and continued past the pack of surfers. One surfer yelled out, “Hey where you going, the big waves won’t be here until tomorrow!” The surf pack mockingly cheered as they watched the surfer with the very sore trapezius muscle continue paddling. He kept going until he reached the kelp beds, continued through though the green kelp forests, and on beyond the pack’s view.