Last week my best friend disappeared surfing a
swell off Kauai. He hasn’t been found, and I know it can’t be due to his surfing, he’s too good. So I went to search for him myself, and you’re not going believe what I found.
Micky B is probably one of the best surfers (amateur or professional) I’ve ever seen, and I live and love here on Waikiki, I’ve met some serious dudes in the swells off our beautiful islands, but still, none come close to Micky B.
Micky B has always been searching for the big one, the mythical wave that we’re all looking for. That price of perfection, the glass keg you zip through when time stands still, and it’s just you, mother ocean and that moment. When you know she’s let you into her embrace, allow you to become one with her. It’s a few minutes, but the ride is unbelievable.
He told me someone told him a spot where he could find it. I couldn’t believe what he was telling me when he said he was going to go and surf it. No one tells you their swells. Not like that. It’s about respect, you’ve got to earn that right. I would never say any benny where to find my swells; it’s…unheard of. So, naturally I was concerned, and after not hearing from him for over a week I went to find him.
I took the first flight out to Kauai, and when I landed, got a ride to the town that Micky mentioned. Usually most go to North Shore of Hanalei. It’s pretty decent, some high waves, mostly a peeling right point that works on most winter swells, and the bay there is pristine. I’ve made some awesome friends in that point over time, but it’s off the far north-east side of the point, towards the Princeville, which separates the good from the brave.
However, Micky B went south instead.
It was little more than a series of shacks when I got there. I asked about my buddy, they told me that someone fitting his description came a week ago and even though they protested he made up camp a few yards west, down on the beach. I had about an hour before sunset, so I stored my board and took a barefoot down the sand.
I scoped out the lay, the wind was onshore, would be nice for some midnight swells but I wasn’t here for that. The shallows had an extra sharp reef, a heavily localised pack, and barrels that seemed to suck dry. This wasn’t what the seven-mile miracle gave; I instantly knew why Micky wanted to come here. It took all my will not to run back and get my board. That was until a snag of green passed out before the reef. It was the smell first. You get used to the natural odours of the sea, but this was different. It was living.
Now I know living seems a weird thing to say when the whole ocean is alive, but this wasn’t living in the sense of the natural order of things. This was wrong; it’s hard to explain. I watched as more snaked by and churned in the waves. None reached the through the reef to shore as I thought it would, it just stayed there, floating in the surf.
I carried on walking until the beach met a shallow bay with a high rock wall, an opening sat near the top, I knew it would be quite a climb to get to, but I had to try. More of the sharp reef poked through the water like jagged teeth lining the mouth of the cave. Eventually, I made it up there with only a few scratches, one a long gash on my leg dropped blood onto the rocks below, and into the sea. It didn’t bother me as it was quickly treated and I and the sea were bonded by blood already.
The cave was nothing but a shallow depression in the rock wall, it could have fitted possibly five grown men sitting abreast, however, now it held a sleeping bag I recognised as Micky B’s, and an assortment of his nicknacks, but no Micky B.
Frustratingly I search for a clue in his possessions until defeated I turned to the sea to find solitude. There, sitting just out of the break was someone on a surfboard. I knew it must be Micky. I shouted until I was hoarse and then screamed some more. But, the figure didn’t turn. It just sat in the strip of moonlight, looking out ready to catch that wave.
Excitement coursed through me as I descended the rock face and ran back to get my board. One of the locals blocked my wave and wanted me not to go into the sea at night, but I just pushed past him and kept going. Just before I left the beach for the water, I glimpsed the figure as a big wave settled in, and then he was lost.
I didn’t stop as I navigated the reef out into the rip, then once past the break I turned and searched for Micky B. I got to admit, night surfing is a real thrill when it’s safe, but when it’s that dark, man, it can be scary.
It was so dark out there on the waves. No natural light or head torch, nothing but moonlight lit my path as I searched for Micky. As I paddled out the smell hit me again, it was sickly sweet, like burnt hair and flesh, mixed with rotten apples. I sat up then, more to get away from the smell than anything else. But thankfully I did because I saw Micky B again. I called out, but he didn’t answer.
Sometimes it can be that way, when it’s just you and the surf, you can get lost in it, so I knew the only way to get his attention was to tap him on the shoulder. I thought I’d play a prank and scare him. He deserved it for going missing and having me find his sorry ass.
I paddled over again, losing sight of him every time a wave broke over me. Soon I was in reach. I sat up, still in the eerie darkness, and glanced toward the beach knowing that the jagged teeth of the reef waited to split me in two if I wasn’t careful. It was dangerous surfing a spot in the pitch dark without scoping it out in daylight before.
Something brushed my leg and caught at my ankle; i realised it was seaweed and reached down to remove it. As I did more curled around my arm, I felt a jerk and nearly toppled off my board. I shouted to Micky again, and this time the surfer turned. But it wasn’t the movement I was expecting, it wasn’t the head or torso of the surfer that moved, but the whole fucking board moved on its axis, the entire fucking thing turned 180 on top of the water.
Shocked, I almost forgot about the seaweed until
It jerked me again, this time with a little more strength. I struggled with it as it bound around my leg and arm, but I managed to get free. The surfer just watched. I should have known it wasn’t Micky B; the shape was wrong, it was too perfect, too human.
The seaweed caught at my other leg and pulled harder. I dropped to my board and rolled with it kicking with my other leg down my skin like a cheese grater. The vine loosened and I kept kicking until it let go, then scramble to turn my board and board it. I thought it was the water in my eyes. I still wish it was; unfortunately, it wasn’t, the surfer was feet away, and it wasn’t a surfer at all, but the seaweed. Somehow it had congealed together to mimic a surfer sitting on his board, what was bait to a surfer like maggots to fish.
It had lured me in like a fisherman, and I was inches away from being its prey. Adrenaline or fear pumped my legs and arms; I didn’t know which way was which as I sped away until a wave smashed me from the side. I turned and pumped again as tendrils of seaweed slithered over my board, each trying to hook my legs. I quickly turned and kicked out again, the wave pulled me in, and I could have thanked every god known to man as it took me up.
The power of the sea stripped the last of the seaweed from my ankle, and I jumped up and rode back to shore. That ride was by far the scariest of my life. Knowing what was behind me pushed me on even though the danger of the reef was fast approaching. I don’t know if it was blind luck or mother ocean looking out for me, but when I hit the first part of the reef, I felt the grind through my feet and braced myself. The board snagged on the reef, and my body left the board and sailed through the air. I landed in the shallows with nothing more than burning at my ribs from a shallow cut. I gulped air into my lungs and looked around at my board.
Pieces of it floated by, and over the top of the surf I saw the moonlight trail out to infinity, and preached on top, unmoving, was the seaweed surfer.