Neptune, Varuna, Ba Ngu, Nyai Roro Kidul or Poseidon* whatever name you know him, or her by, must have been working a bucket load of overtime to serve up the swollen swell we saw when we arrived at the beach this morning. It was a grey day wrapped in gusting winds and spat on by the odd passing shower. The only nice thing you could say about today’s surf was that it was big.
First thing, walking the beach accompanied by the thunder of the water pounding upon the shore, there was a certain grave reverence about everything. People spoke in hushed tones, words stolen from their mouths as they were spoken by the gust that rushed past and tossed it casually and impertinently about. Today we were to start the with the Men's Division of the Log but before the first four made their way to the water's edge an almost godlike reverence had been cast upon them. You have heard the phrase mad dogs and Englishmen. Today's surfers have now been included in with this lot.
Riding the waves wasn’t what presented the greatest danger. Getting out the back through the surging, spewing rips and white water chaos with peaks that popped up frequently at random intervals across the front of the contest area and beyond was the tricky bit. Insolence was paid upon and more than one surfer was thrown back to the bottom of the rocks of the breakwater below us for disrespect and not reading the situation correctly. But once they got out there and stroked into the big lumpy waves all thoughts of the long paddle to the outside seemed to vanish faster than spit hitting the pavement on a hot day as they took off on these bombs sallying forth out, over, and in a lot of cases, into, while the cheers from the viewers gallery erupted along the shore. Talk about seat of the pants stuff.
These guys quite literally clawed through the first twelve heats of the Men’s Log until it was time for round two. The grey day stuck like gum to the bottom of a seat, blue peeked in and out but was shut down quickly. At one point a lifeguard went to the aid of a surfer caught in the swirling no man’s land between shore and waves. A couple of boards became the sacrifices that need to be given to appease your god. We marched determinedly into round two hoping to put it to bed before tomorrow but the receding tide and increasing wind put a stop to things at around twelve.
We’ll be back in the morning. The forecast is for better weather and calmer seas. We want the ladies log to enter tomorrow and are hoping for much, much better conditions. We’re seeing blue skies and a breath of wind. A long slow tide that gives us hours of surfing pleasure. Tonight though, we are hosting a party. A five band jam. We’ve got a night of non stop live music from seven in the pm through to close. But enough about that, there will be a post dedicated to nocturnal antics a little later in the peace, for now, let’s get back to the job at hand. Making sure all of our gods are on the same page for the morning.
*The names various cultures have given their God of the Sea.
Images by Didit Prasetyoadiwibowo, Keli Bow, Giang GAW, James Bruce, Damea Dorsey