You stand there staring off into the horizon… the ocean waves are gently crashing over your toes. The sky is still a twilight blue with the sun still sleeping beneath the ocean. Ever since you can remember you’ve started your day like this.
You step into your wet suit. The ocean on this side of the island is usually pretty warm but you don’t want to take a chance with the coral reef below the surface.
As the sun starts to wake up the sky turns pink. You stretch out your arms and back against your board. Surfing has been in your family for generations. You remember the first time your mother took you out. She was better than your dad although dad would never admit to it. Every morning before school you would come out here. The two of you would just sit on your boards and wait for that perfect wave. Mostly you were quiet but sometimes she would tell you stories. She learned to surf from her father who learned to surf from his and so on and so on for generations.
You see the same faces every morning. Faces of friends you’ve known for years. People that you’ve had both intimate conversations with and small chit chats. People that come every morning and say nothing but surf. You’ve seen every race, shape, gender, and age come to one spot. When you are out here nothing else matters.
The history of surfing in Hawaii goes back to the 4thcentury a.d. when Polynesian’s began to make their way to the Hawaiian Island from Tahiti. They brought many of their customs with them including playing in the surf on Paipo (belly) boards. It was here in Hawaii that the art of standing and surfing upright on long boards was invented.
The waves are perfect this morning. You walk across the rocks and place your board in the water. You let one wave pass and then jump on your board and start paddling out. After a few minutes you find the perfect spot to sit and wait for the perfect wave.
You sit there alone. The sun is finally starting to peek over the horizon. Looks like it will be another beautiful day on the Big Island. After a few minutes some of the usuals come paddling out.
You watch in the distance as the water changes. Patiently waiting for your wave. You ride it then fall…. then come back out… ride… fall… come back out… you continue this for about 2 hours.
A cruise ship starts into the harbor. You check the time. Your work day starts in 1 hour. Just enough time to get home get a shower and head to the 9 to 5. You look for that last perfect wave to ride into shore. Back up the stairs to your car and off to the corporate world…
A fictional surf story- written by Kathleen Hertel.
Photos by Kathleen Hertel Photography