Dirk catches a wave
a quick morning session before heading back to Newfoundland

It's common for me to host students from all over the world,  but less common that any students arrive here with a rock solid roll and a thirst for open water.   When they do, if the surf cooperates,  I try to show them a good time.   Dirk came here from Newfoundland to build a boat,  but over the course of the week I decided that what he really needed was a wave.    Growing up in Cape Town South Africa the ocean waves assimilated deep into Dirks' bloodstream and it seemed to me somehow morally repugnant that Dirk hadn't ridden a wave in TWENTY YEARS.  I also had a sneaking intuition that Dirk could still rip.  

We woke up on Tuesday morning to a cold rain,  making it difficult to motivate towards the 50 degree water.   The swell was decent though, which it often isn't here,  so if we blew it off we'd be just like everyone else who makes excuses and doesn't do the things that truly satisfy them.    Leann,  Dirk, and myself pulled on wet wetsuits.

Dirk shoulders the bat boat while Leann carries her 8'6" board.   A half-mile walk through fog drenched dripping coastal rainforest leads down to the beach.

Sadly,  this paradise is all that's left of the rainforest here,  a tiny island in a sea of clearcuts.

Here is an unusual sight!   I didn't stop to ask what had happened but I genuinely felt bad for this guy.

A modified squirt boat,  the bat boat is so tight that a folded towel is all one gets for padding.

Dirk launches with the greenland blade he built.

Shrouded in mist Leann waits for waves on her board.

Dirk waited for me to catch up and then without any hesitation...

...he paddled over and pulled right into this baby just as the sun broke through!

This is pretty small for around here,  but still thick enough to get the blood pumping.

Dirk tore past me, carving powerful fluid arcs across the wave face.

I put the camera away and we spent the next two hours just surfing.   We traded boats and Dirk proved equally at home in my twitchy Mega Venom as in the more forgiving Bat Boat.

What I wasn't expecting was how hard Dirk could still charge on a board.    I was in the rip when Dirk paddled out on Leanns board,  he kept paddling right past me and over into a perfect position on the peak.   A set rolled in and Dirk pulled into the FIRST WAVE HE PADDLED FOR.   Scooping deep handfuls of water he dropped over the lip and instantly snapped to his feet,  dropping into a low stance and carving right past me.    Surfing takes impeccable timing and balance and this guy hadn't been on a board in 20 YEARS,  impressive to say the least.

Hardly beginners luck,  Dirk pulled into wave after wave without tripping or falling once,  eventually riding one all the way to the beach and stepping out with this huge smile on his face.

Leann zips the board back into her bag and it's time for us to go.

Dirk stops on the trail to pose with an especially fat Sitka Spruce tree.  

It always amazes me how even a mediocre surf session can transform a person.   Watching Dirk reconnect with the waves was one of the most gratifying experiences I've had all year.   Thanks Dirk,  I hope it's not another 20 years before you catch the next swell.

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