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by Magicseaweed on Friday 19th February, 2010 72669 Views
7 of 7
WHEN Susan Chaplin arrived in the village of Nembrala on the Indonesian island of Rote, the 12th stop on her two-year surf sojourn, she hadn't anticipated sharing waves with a former World Surfing Champion... © 2013 Excerpt From Surfer’s Journal 18.6
...But as coincidence would have it, Peruvian legend Felipe Pomar was enjoying a getaway of his own. The two struck up a friendship—as often happens when you're on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere—and to this day the kinship holds firm. © 2013 Surfer's Journal
I wasn't conscious when the next wave set me free. Writes Susan Chaplin. I came up gasping for air. My board bobbed beside me. The Yacht Club was not far away. Weak and dizzy, I paddled to the humuhumu. Mike and Betty, Gary and Elaine, and Mark smiled down at me. I heard music. Surfers hefted bottles of Bintang in celebration of epic surf.
Gary said, "We worried about you. Your board bobbing and jerking. Like there was a body at the end of the line." Mike spoke to me and I felt I had joined a club. Maybe a good wipeout was as good as a good ride. "Quite a show," he said. "That guy you dropped in on has a story." © 2013 Surfer's Journal
I was bloated with seawater. The current was strong, so I rode the Bommie's whitewater in to the beach. If I hadn't seen Felipe sitting with his board across his lap in the shade of the palm frond lean-to, I would have sat down on the beach and cried.
"Catch any waves?" Felipe said. As usual, he gave me the option to have surfed as well as he did. Fighting the urge to empty myself from both ends. I smiled and said, "Big out there." A surfer plummeted across a wave and caught Felipe's eye. I sprinted for the bushes where I rid myself of perhaps the lining of my entire digestive track. © 2013 Surfer's Journal
Trudging back to my losmen I felt weary and crestfallen. I had lost my camera in the surf; I had disgraced myself in big waves. © 2013 Surfer's Journal
I drank bottled water and took a nap. I woke almost at dusk and hiked to the point with my land camera. There was still size and consistency to the swell. Like a round, gold ingot, the setting sun challenged me to steal its 14-karat gold light.
Perfectly accenting the waves, the surfers showed me that the gilded overhead waves, not them, were the things for me to honor with my camera. Going for his last surf of the day, Felipe carried his red board along the point. He danced barefoot over the coral, floated his board, and melted into the darkening ocean. © 2013 Surfer's Journal
Rote's hunter-gatherers, the tide pool foragers, young and old in rags, were out. Silhouetted black against the livid sunset, they wielded plastic buckets, little shovels, and small homemade wire spears. Hunting small fish and octopus, they mock-fought for the ownership of the most fecund tide pools like an army of childish gladiators.
The great waves huddled closely around Rote. As Holland protects its land from the sea with a strong network of dykes, Rote's magnificent Indian Ocean protected itself from the land by corralling it with mighty waves.
~Susan Chaplin, Excerpted from the full story by Susan Chaplin in The Surfer's Journal, Volume 18, Number 6. © 2013 Surfer's Journal
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