Monalia's World

Observations on a New Life in Spain

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The Big Wave

Danny and I used to meet at Stabby Beach to go boogie boarding once or twice a week. The surf is almost always ideal there. Local surfers gave this beach the moniker ‘Stabby’ because years ago, at Lifeguard stand #3 in Zuma Beach, a local girl was stabbed in the public toilet. They’ve been calling it “Stabby Beach” ever since.

It was a perfect Malibu day, with deep, slow baking rays and endless well formed sets of waves. We’d been boarding all morning and were taking a break. The sun rays seduced Danny into the land of golden slumber. The waves were like mischievous sirens, teasing and beckoning me, calling my name. I had to go out one more time to catch a few. Big, long rides, bumpy too. But after awhile I realized that I was getting a wheeze. I tried to head back in. I was farther and deeper than I normally go. I was seized with a temporary panic, for I had no asthma spray on me. I tried to paddle back to Danny on the beach, but the current carried me deeper. Rip tide. The more furious my efforts to get to shore, the more difficult it became to breathe. I quelled my growing fear.

I could see Danny, a tiny dot on the beach just getting up from his sleep. I waved frantically to him. He waved back, friendly. He thought I was just saying hello. I waved more furiously but he just continued to wave back. The tide pulled me further and further out. Unable to catch my breath, I tried not to panic. I could see bathers and surfers and children rushing around on the shore, becoming tinier and tinier the further out I was carried. Not even the lifeguard was aware of my dangerous predicament.

I looked back and saw a HUGE set of waves coming my way. Scary waves, about six in a row. I knew that my only chance to make it to shore again was if I could ride one in. As the gigantic wave came closer I began to kick furiously to get some speed, Its not easy to catch a wave in deep water but luckily I was wearing my fins. My asthma was so intense I could barely inhale. So I held my breath and kicked with all my might. The wave picked me up and carried me like a big h’or d’heurve on a tray, propelling me to shore.

In an endless and exhilarating few moments, adrenaline pumping to my lungs, I was hurled towards the beach, riding the crest of the wave, making it look easy. Everyone on the beach, even the lifeguard,cheered me on. Danny was dancing in the froth as I hit the shore. “Man, what a ride that was!” he said. “How did you know to go way out there for the big swell?”

I stumbled to my towel, took a few hits of asthma spray, coughed and finally took a few deep breaths of the fresh sage and eucalyptus tinged Malibu air. Strangers came up and congratulated me, “Good ride!”. I basked in the glory of breathing, of water, air, sun, people, life.