This is the story of Haole, a bird that can't fly, but surfs fifty-foot waves and is about to make the discovery of his life -
The inner game of surfing. The magic that makes life a game. In a new book by J.E. Milne

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Night Surfing

This is from chapter 8 of the book - a part about night surfing -

Once he was out at the break he marveled at the way the low moon gave plenty of light to see the waves by and he immediately swam into a big one, riding it all the way down the line. It reminded him of the waves he used to catch back off the ice sheet - big, mean and fast. He quickly swam outside and caught another one, carving long drawn out turns all the way down the line. These waves were fast and thick, and the swell was getting bigger with each set. Once Haole had been out in the moonlight surfing for an hour or more, the trouble he felt about the journey to the Gathering was a million miles away, and after several more waves Haole looked up into the sky and lay back in the water. There was a lull, and the sea went momentarily calm.
The Moon sat on the horizon for what seemed like a long time as Haole stared at it and waited for another set to come building into the point. Finally, the moon set in a faint glow and the clouds followed it over the horizon to complete their blanket of the sky. Haole watched the whole thing. He was mesmerized, watching the last of the glow fade, thinking about the good fortune he had had, coming to the island and finding good friends and a safe place to live. Even if the journey to the Gathering was not going to happen, things were going to work out in the long run. For just a minute Haole thought about his mother back on the ice. It made him sad because the truth was, although Haole would never have admitted it, he really missed his mother and the community of penguins in the huddle. Secretly he wished that he could go back, but could he go back? Was he just an outcast now? He even missed the way his mother used to smooth the feathers on his head after he swam. He was lost in thought for a long moment.
Now, my esteemed reader, pay close attention because something really astounding is about to happen to Haole. He is about to take the next step in his journey to becoming a legend.
A movement in the water stirred Haole’s attention and he looked around. He became alarmed when he realized that he could not see a thing - nothing! After the moon set, the sea had become pitch black! The motion of the water, Haole knew, was the water moving out as the next set of powerful waves approached. He gulped, looked around in a panic, but there was nothing. Clouds covered the sky and he was in total darkness. Fear began to creep up his back. This was dangerous. He could feel the first wave approaching.
Haole wanted to swim into the wave. He was in the perfect position but the sea was too black. The huge wave rushed at him with a speed exaggerated by the darkness. Haole struggled to see, straining his eyes to squeeze the last bit of moonlight out of the dark. There was none. It was just black. With a powerful pull he was lifted up in the body of the wave as the first one jacked up on the reef.
Hope seemed to rush out of his body. Haole closed his eyes in a moment of despair, but just then something happened. He realized that there was no difference between opening and closing his eyes. For just a moment it came to him, a vision of himself lying on his back, eyes closed on a sunny afternoon, safely floating in the water. He relaxed.
He heard a voice in his mind. ‘Trust yourself,’ it said. ‘Don’t be afraid, it’s only water… let go.’ Pushing forward, he swam into the wave.
He closed his eyes. The spray blowing up off the top of the wave was still raining against him. The weightlessness at the edge was the same as when it was light and, as he pushed himself out through the lip, he felt for his feet to connect with the face. He raced downward with the speed of gravity. His webbed feet connected in the darkness with the water and sliced a clean turn off the bottom as he leaned into the wave and felt for the power in the face to let him know when to come off the gas and re-adjust to set his line. The lip exploded behind him in a shuddering roar, splitting the dark like a whip cracking. Haole opened his eyes involuntarily at the boom but he could see nothing, just searing blackness. He closed them again. The face of the wave went concave and Haole leaned forward on his toe edge, picking up speed as the barrel came over and enveloped him in a huge sucking cylinder of air. He raced forward, meeting the darkness, feeling his way through the wave as he adjusted his weight to stay in the juicy power center. The water flew past under his toes as he crouched down with the speed and braced for the final rush. Behind him the tube began to collapse and the foam of the breaking wave spat out around his body as he leaned forward once again and carved a clean line in the dark toward the safety of the shoulder. He had ridden a wave from start to finish with his eyes closed!
He was so at one with the rhythm and motion of the waves that he didn’t need to see. He swam in the blackness until he could feel by the way the sea moved that he was out near the top of the point again. He felt calm, centered and acutely aware of each nuance in the motion of the water. It was only then that he surfaced, finally opening his eyes, and saw that in the distance the first light of dawn had just begun. There was an eerie salt-spray mist hanging over the water and it was like a fog in the slight gray light. Haole could see another set wave coming, looming toward him.

1 comment:

  1. Love the excerpts from your book.

    Would like to invite you to The Rule of Three Blogfest ---a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza in October with some great prizes, and of course, some great writing practice and networking.