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
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
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
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
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
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