The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

On Friday morning, I received two wake-up texts from my human buoys. (Thanks, guys.) Unfortunately, the earlier one didn’t wake me up. The one that did said, “2 foot grab ur board.” By the time I got my wits about me, low tide was hours gone, but it was still glassy, not closing out, and the water was w.a.r.m. So warm, actually, that it was flooded with jellies.

“The stinging kind? Or the disc ones?” my friend asked me later.

“The disc ones,” I said, ” and a lot of those ones that look kind of like this.” (I held up one of the beaters from an electric mixer.)

“Nettles?”

“I don’t know, they weren’t stinging me. But they were everywhere.”

It was like surfing in a murky, green Jell-O bath. It was awesome. It was shark week. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only bait person in the water. I paddled out next to a group of lively 17-year-old locals who I see a lot. As I stood on the beach watching, four or five of them stroked in, party wave style. Yep, that was where I wanted to be. They were having a grand time jelly bombing each other, dropping in on each other while making animal noises, and, occasionally, pulling airs. I love surfing with teenaged boy gangs–the stoke is infectious.

After a few minutes, this old guy on a foam board appeared at the edge of the clique. He didn’t talk to anyone; he certainly didn’t partake in the festivities. He hovered for a while, seeming harmless enough, until, all of a sudden, he wasn’t. He paddled outside of where we were sitting on our shortboards and used his density advantage to snake one of the kids’ waves. Huh. Maybe he just didn’t know what he was doing. Maybe he just really wanted that wave. He rode out the right, dropped onto his foam top and paddled around to the back, again, swiping the next wave from another kid, nearly running him over. This continued for at least 10 or 20 minutes and the surf gang, which I had subtly infiltrated, was incensed. They only showed it with looks of disgust and a handful of scornful comments: “I remember my first time surfing, too, old man.”

After a while, he took the young boy who had been helplessly bobbing nearby on a bodyboard (presumably his son) and headed southeast–even further from hope of the poor kid catching a wave.

I was left pondering his actions. Either he doesn’t know about priority and, ahem, common courtesy, or he has zero regard for them. As he was catching an unfair amount of waves, he must have known what he was doing, and therefore, I am thinking he was probably just a prick.

But I could be wrong, I suppose. Thoughts?

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