It would have to be categorized as summer ‘fun surf;’ early afternoon, pre-glassoff texture, the lines broken up enough to offer some peaks with workable shoulders; nothing scary, nothing great, just, fun.
The surfing area in Pacific Beach gets pushed, each summer, well north of the Crystal Pier, the black ball flags and lifeguards making sure the swimmers have a chance at rolling and tumbling. It was one of those days where the crew of painters I was working with, having finished our day’s assignment, headed for this bar or that strip club. Trish still at work, I headed for the beach.
The whole purpose of telling this story is to justify the classic Hawaiian arch. Pose? Maybe. Fun? Oh, yes. A tradition worthy of passing on? Indeed.
I would argue that the move, leaning back, reaching your hands heavenward to thank God, the Universe, or whatever Deity you recognize for allowing you to be racing across some wave face is a surfer’s praise position, a moving Hallelujah.
And it’s a natural reaction to the joy of a particularly enjoyable moment, like rotating your stance just slightly to place your hand into the curl or wall of a breaking wave, maybe out of some sense of respect, maybe just to feel the rush of water.
But, there is the ‘look at me’ argument. It is a pose. Hang five. Hold it. Backpeddle.
I don’t know where my ride fits in. I was wailing across a wave, sneaking my left foot forward on my roundy-nosed six foot board… arching, possibly even letting out a ‘eeeooowww!’ as if I were surfing with just a few friends. I wasn’t. The other surfers out were a couple of school kids, strangers, both of them wading out, witnessing.
They shared a laugh between themselves. Some grownups. Geez.
Yet, on the next ride, one of the kids, still laughing his ass off, kind of timidly slid his front foot forward, kind of awkwardly leaned back. “Eeeeeooowwww!”
Another tradition passed on. Another moment held, held a little longer… and backpedal, drop down, pull back up and onward, rotating just slightly…